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January 6, 2021

Drive launched against unsafe injection use

Islamabad

January 6, 2021

Islamabad : Supported by the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in line with its environmental and social Management Plan (ESMP), the Ministry of National Health Services has started a new initiative to address unnecessary and unsafe injection practices in Pakistan.

The initiative is an evidence-based policy response to the problem of blood-borne infections and unnecessary and unsafe injections in the country. An awareness campaign has been launched to reduce injection overuse, curtail reuse of syringes, institute proper waste disposal and promote oral medication.

Recent studies and documentations have established the association between unsafe therapeutic injections and the transmission of dangerous diseases like Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. It is also known that patients who receive a higher number of injections are at a higher risk of contracting these illnesses, primarily due to syringe reuse. It has been found that 94% of injections in Pakistan are unnecessary and can be avoided by preferring oral medication.

The problem is widespread and has been documented from different corners of the county. A study published in 2019 about private health care providers in Sindh and Punjab had revealed a very high percentage of syringe reuse and specific factors associated with it. The major reason was a demand by patients to which providers complied. Patients were generally unaware of the harms of injections and syringe reuse or that reuse happens.

Such studies highlight the importance of appropriate health behaviors—avoiding unnecessary injections and insisting on the unused syringes, in this case. The Ministry of Health’s initiative on unsafe injection practices will address this behavioral change through several interventions including the recently launched media campaign to raise awareness. The campaign involves messaging through newspapers, TV, radio and social media. The message has also been adopted in regional languages to target the rural population in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.