93pc injectable syringes unnecessarily reused on patients in Pakistan: seminar

Ziauddin University organized a seminar on “Injection Safety” in collaboration with Pakistan Society for the Study of Liver Disease (PSSLD)

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Karachi: Unsafe injections account for most of the infections rampant in our society, putting patients and healthcare providers at risk of infectious and non-infectious adverse events”, Dr Nida Hussain, Pro-Chancellor of Ziauddin University said while addressing a seminar.

Speaking at a seminar on “Injection Safety” organized by Ziauddin University in collaboration with the Pakistan Society for the Study of Liver Disease (PSSLD), she stressed the need to educate masses regarding the hazards of unsafe injections.

President, PSSLD, Prof Dr Masood Siddiq underscored the magnitude of this problem in Pakistan. He said that in Pakistan the average person receives 8-13 injections per year of which more than 90% are avoidable and remain non-essential. Unnecessary injections and IV drips prepared in unhygienic conditions are becoming the major cause of the spread of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.

“It was reported that 59% of syringes were dumped into general waste and not properly disposed of in healthcare waste. Scavengers seeking valuable things from the waste are at high risk of receiving needle stick injuries from contaminated needles”, Dr Masood exclaimed.

–Clean needles, contaminated syringes–

Vice President PSSLD, Prof Zaigham Abbas, Head of Gastroenterology Department, Ziauddin University discussed the injection safety and safe practices for giving injections, drawing blood and doing lancet procedures. He stressed on the need that the procedures shouldn’t harm the recipients and should not result in the exposure to any avoidable risk and should not result in waste which is dangerous for other people.

“The same syringes should not be used in more than one patient even if the needle is changed. Multi-dose vials should be avoided when possible”, he further added.

“In Pakistan, more than 90% injections with syringes reused on more than one patient. Pakistanis receive the highest number of injections per person, annually. That also between 8.2 – 8.5 injections.

In Eastern Mediterranean Region, almost 12 million people in Pakistan suffer from hepatitis B or C. Each year brings about 150,000 new cases”, said Dr. Minhaj Qidwai, CEO Sindh Health Care Commission.

Dr Qidwai disclosed that during the inspections of Sindh Health Care Commission in different hospitals, clinics, laboratories & diagnostics we have found a lot of shocking irregularities including expired medicines and supplies in pharmacies, poor Infection control and waste management, lack of awareness about quality and standards as well as lack of trained professionals.

Founding-President PSSLD and Associate Dean, Aga Khan University Hospital, Prof. Wasim Jafri, whilst sharing WHO’s guidelines about injection safety said that Safe injection practices are part of standard precautions aimed at basic level for patient safety and provider protection as defined by the World Health Organization.

A safe injection does not harm the recipient and doesn’t expose the provider to any avoidable risk.

The panelists highlighted that 93% injections have been used unnecessarily whereas, 75-94% injection equipment was found reused and 12% injections provided with used syringes in public sector settings.

There is a huge burden of reuse and sharing of syringes across the country. We need to create awareness among healthcare workers and the community. It will lead to a significant reduction in the burden of needle transmitted viral diseases.

Seminar was chaired by Prof. Shahab Abid, Chief Gastroenterology, Aga Khan University, Prof. Dr. Rukhsana Sattar, Fazaia Ruth Pfau Medical College and Prof Uzma Ghori, Associate Dean Ziauddin University.