Paris, Nov. 6 (AFP): World Health Organisation experts say three injections out of every four in India and other countries in South Asia are made with unsterilised needles, exposing countless people to the risk of hepatitis, HIV and other infections.
The seven countries in the WHO’s Southeast Asian region group D — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar and Nepal as well as North Korea — are at the absolute bottom of a league for injection safety among developing countries, they say.
Seventy-five per cent of injections in the group D countries are made with needles that have already been used to inject other people and not been properly sterilised, according to the study that will appear in next Saturday’s British Medical Journal.
In the other parts of Asia and the Western Pacific, unsafe needle re-use was 30 per cent; in the two regions of Africa, 17 and 19 per cent; in West Asia, 70 per cent; and in eastern Europe, the rate was 11 per cent. Latin America was not included in the study for lack of data.
“Overuse of injections and unsafe practices are still common in developing and transitional countries,” said the study.
This combination “results in a major route of transmission for Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus. Other complications of unsafe injections include infection with HIV, abscesses, septicaemia, malaria and viral haemorrhagic fevers”.
The lead author of the study is Yvan Hutin, a medical officer at the WHO’s department of blood safety and clinical technology.