According to Guo Yanhong, a division chief with the Ministry of Health, the government has developed a number of policies and broad statutes over the past few years designed to prevent infections and injuries from unsafe injections. More detailed regulations will be announced soon.
As an increasing number of blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS, are being spread throughout the world due to the sharing of needles, unsafe injections have become a hot global public health topic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10 percent of the world’s 12 billion injections each year expanded-program immunization (EPI) injections.
The remainder are medical injections. The WHO estimates that 30 percent of EPI injections and at least 50 percent of medical injections are unsafe.
The situation is even worse in developing countries.
Children receive 5.5 billion injections annually and are the first to be affected by unsafe practices.
Unsafe injection practices include the reusing syringes, poor sterilization techniques and inadequate disposal of medical waste.
“It is the responsibility of all health workers, their employers, national governments and the public to ensure the safe and appropriate use of injections,” said Kong Wen, of the China Office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
To achieve this goal, the China Alliance for Safe Injections was established two years ago.
In 1999, the WHO founded the Safe Injection Global Network at its headquarters in Geneva. One of the organization’s main objectives is to promote new technologies that minimize the risks associated with injections.
The WHO and UNICEF were pushing for auto-disposal syringes, which can only be used once, to be used for all EPI injections by the end of last year, but there is still a long way to go before the AD syringes are used for both EPI and medical injections.
(China Daily April 21, 2004)