The special assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza Saturday said the federal government had planed to introduce auto-disable syringes next year for reducing infections and diseases caused by repeated use of syringes.
In an interview with a private news channel, he said the ministry of health would made it mandatory to use auto disable (AD) syringes in all government hospitals and private health centers to avoid further complications for citizens as re-use of an insulin pen needle could increase bacterial growth on the needle and can cause HIV infections among citizens.
“By the end of the first quarter of next year, we hope to completely eliminate disposable syringes in the private sector hospitals and replace them with auto-lock syringes,” he said adding, “we’ve had comprehensive talks with relevant stakeholders, including manufacturers and importers.”
He said health ministry also launched an investigating over the recent incident of HIV outbreak in Larkana and they immediately impose a “ban on use of injections at the clinics” run by General Practitioners (GPs), adding, reuse of syringes is the major cause of spreading the viral disease among children in Larkana.
To put an end to this practice, Dr Mirza said, an injection safety committee and task force had been formed at the national level.
The task force has been working diligently over the past few months and plans to introduce auto-destruct syringes which could only be used once, he added.
Dr Zafar Mirza urged pharmacists to play their role in educating the masses on injection safety as well as the adverse reactions of drugs.
Unsafe injection practices such as the reuse of disposable syringes has been identified as the main cause behind the HIV and the rise in Hepatitis B and C cases in other parts of the country.
Ministry of health are going to launch a massive media campaign discouraging unnecessary injections in the coming months, he said adding, “we’re also talking to provinces to stop procuring disposable syringes for public hospitals”.
He said multi-sectoral efforts are needed to combat this challenge to save our coming generations.
Dr Zafar stressed the need for cutting down the use of injections and improving hygiene protocols at all medical facilities, including private clinics.
He said same syringes should not be used for more than one patient even if the needle is changed. Multi-dose vials should be avoided when possible.
Safe sharps disposal is important whether you are at home, at work, at school, traveling, or in other public places such as hotels, parks, and restaurants, he added.
Mirza said the government has been spending millions of rupees on facilitating patients with Hepatitis C and AIDS and introducing new ways in the field of medicine. Terming 95 percent of injections in the country unnecessary, Dr Mirza informed that Pakistan was among the leading countries where a person gets eight to nine injections on an average per year.
Dr Mirza said it was a very important public health issue. Every hospital needed to have infection prevention and control systems.