Government admits that 40% of injections are unsafe in India
The health ministry concedes that 40% of syringes in India are either recycled or of ‘doubtful sterility’
“A study conducted on the issue of unsafe injections in India reveals that 23.9% of injections use syringes of doubtful sterility and 16.2% are made up of recycled syringes and needles,” the Indian health ministry is quoted as saying.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently observed that three out of every four injections in India and other south Asian countries use unsterilised needles, which make people vulnerable to infections like HIV and hepatitis. Three recent studies in an international journal on sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS also argue that unsafe injections, not unsafe sex, are the main reason for the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
According to the journal, 48% of AIDS cases are a result of using unclean syringes, while 30% are due to unsafe sex. It also pointed to the occurrence of HIV in infants whose mothers are not HIV-positive.
Responding to the WHO report, the Indian health ministry says it has initiated steps to ensure zero-risk injections. “The best way is to use auto-disabled syringes which, after being used, automatically bend in the middle,” says an official.
The government has instructed that all vaccines under the pilot project for introducing the hepatitis-B vaccine should be administered through auto-disabled syringes. The government is also considering using auto-disabled syringes for various immunisation programmes. It has asked AIDS control societies to supply needle-cutters to government hospitals. Health functionaries are being trained on safe injection practices.
Source: The Telegraph, December 19, 2003