India joins WHO’s Global Injection Safety Campaign

Updated: September 09, 2016 7:19 PM

As India and world gears up to eliminate the killer hepatitis by 2030, Safe Point India lauds the acknowledgement of the role that safe injections can play in eliminating a big public health scourge

As India and world gears up to eliminate the killer hepatitis by 2030, Safe Point India lauds the acknowledgement of the role that safe injections can play in eliminating a big public health scourge

Safe Point India, a frontline not-for profit society working in the field of public health and safety, has lauded and fully endorsed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) and Government of India’s (GoI) noble initiative to eliminate viral Hepatitis by 2030 by launching Global Safe Injection Campaign. It is especially happy to note the acknowledgement of the role that safe injections can play in eliminating a health scourge that claims over 3,50,000 lives each year globally and is the number two communicable disease killer of human lives after tuberculosis.

On World Hepatitis Day, India became one of the first countries to join WHO’s Safe Injection Campaign. As per WHO, 33 per cent of Hepatitis B and 42 per cent of Hepatitis C cases are attributed to unsafe injections. It may also be noted that in the South-East Asia Region, viral hepatitis is driving rates of liver cancer and cirrhosis, and is causing premature death and disease with over 100 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

GoI on the World Hepatitis Day committed to renew the effort to eliminate unsafe injections and has announced three-year transition time for manufacturers to phase out standard disposable syringes and switch to auto disable syringes and safety syringes as part of hepatitis elimination intervention strategy.

“Injections should be life giver, not life taker and prevention is always better than cure. Sadly, as pointed out by WHO, nearly 33 per cent of Hepatitis B and 42 per cent of Hepatitis C are attributed to unsafe injections. Unsafe injections mostly in the form of reuse of safety injections continues to be a serious threat to life of patients and health workers, casting shadows over public healthcare and immunisation programmes while raising individual and national healthcare cost burden,” said Rajiv Nath, Project Director & Trustee, Safe Point India, a frontline not-for-profit society working in the field of public health and safety.

“I am happy to note that safe injections along with vaccination and better access to healthcare has now been officially endorsed as key to eliminate a major public health scourge. Swach Bharat Campaign for addressing Hepatitis A & E and a Swach Injection Abhiyan has long been needed for addressing Hepatitis B&C for ensuring Clean Healthcare and Clean Needles. This will not only ensure better health to common Indians but would also bring in great savings in terms of public health spending in the long run,” added Nath.

Nath added, “For WHO to hold its global conference in India and the presence of Amitabh Bachan as the Brand Ambassador to lead the campaign to decimate Hepatitis by 2030 is indicative of the importance of the issue. Globally 400 million people (approx 40 million in India) are estimated to be infected by Hepatitis and WHO estimates that 95 per cent of the patients are unaware that they are infected as Hepatitis C is a slow killer.”

“We fully laud WHO and Government of India’s initiative and determination to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. Hepatitis remains a major public health scourge in India. It is not only a killer disease but also severely impairs quality of life besides causing heavy financial burden on infected who mostly happens to be from the poor strata of society. This is a great initiative which has our full support and endorsement,” said Pradeep Sareen, Marketing Head of HMD, Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices.

“Yes it means a lot of efforts and investments to upgrade our technology and shift of capacities from STD disposable to auto disable syringes for the curative injections but we appreciate the need for this change in the interest of patient safety. And we have the experience as we are the leading supplier globally of auto disable syringes both for immunisation and therapeutic injections,” he explained.

Nath informed that a number of pilot projects on injection safety would be undertaken by GoI and WHO starting from Punjab which has the highest incidence of Hepatitis C even though it is an affluent state possibly due to dangerous cocktail of drug abuse and unsafe injection practices. The other states reported with high incidence of Hepatitis C are Haryana, North Eastern states and coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

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