WHO calls for ‘smart’ syringes to stem deadly diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on health-care providers around the globe to switch to syringes that can be used only once in order battle deadly diseases that are spread by needle sharing.

In new guidelines released Monday, the UN health agency “detailed recommendations highlighting the value of safety features for syringes, including devices that protect health workers against accidental... injury.”

Accidental infection

Dangerous injection practices led to the accidental infection worldwide of 1.7 million people with hepatitis B, 3,15,000 with hepatitis C and as many as 33,800 with HIV in 2010, according to a 2014 WHO-sponsored study.

The new “smart” syringes recommended by the organisation WHO include features that prevent them from being used a second time. Some have a plunger that breaks if someone tries to pull it back out following an injection. Others have metal clips that prevent the plunger from being pulled back after it is used and another type has a needle that retracts into the syringe after a shot.

“Adoption of safety-engineered syringes is absolutely critical to protecting people worldwide from becoming infected with HIV, hepatitis and other diseases,” said Gottfried Hirnschall, head of WHO’s HIV/AIDS department. — AFP

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