The latest initiative wants to promote a different kind of syringe, dubbed the “smart” syringe, which can only be used a single time.
Injections should help people treat people and save lives, and in most cases they do.
According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 16 billion injections being administered every year, and many of these are responsible for spreading fatal infections due to the use and reuse of contaminated syringes and needles.
WHO says that approximately 10% of injections used blood transfusions and other medical procedures are usually safe. But there is a remaining 90% responsible for injecting medicine through the skin or muscle and WHO argues that many of these are unnecessary and could be replaced by medication taken orally.
Gundo Aurel Weiler, coordinator at the HIV/AIDS department within WHO, said that many of these injections are not safe and are responsible for infecting many people with deadly viruses like HIV.
Weiler noted that 1.7 million Hepatitis B infections occur because of unsafe injections, while more than 300,000 people contract Hepatitis C because of the syringes.
In 2000, reports showed unsafe injections were responsible for approximately 10% of new HIV infections.
Although the situation has improved since, there are still more than 33,000 people who are infected with HIV because of unsafe injections. This happens when an infected syringe or needle is used on more than one patient.
WHO proposes that in order to protect millions of people from the dangers of unsafe injections is to switch to new smart syringes that are for one time only usage.
There are several models of smart syringes available on the market at the moment, according to WHO.
One of those models is a syringe that causes the plunger to break after being used once. Another model has a metal clip which blocks the plunger from being moved back, while another model has a needle that retracts into the barrel after the injection was made.
Image Source: io9