ISLAMABAD           -       Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said the federal government had planned to introduce auto-disable syringes next year for reducing infections and diseases caused by repeated use of syringes.

In an interview with a private news channel, he said the ministry of health would make it mandatory to use auto-disable syringes in all government hospitals and private health centres to avoid further complications for citizens as re-use of an insulin needle could increase bacterial growth on the needle and can cause HIV infections among citizens.

“By the end of the first quarter of next year, we hope to completely eliminate disposable syringes in the private sector hospitals and replace them with auto-lock syringes,” he said adding, “We’ve had comprehensive talks with relevant stakeholders including manufacturers and importers.”

He said health ministry also launched an investigation over the recent incident of HIV outbreak in Larkana and they immediately imposed a “ban on use of injections at the clinics” run by general practitioners, adding, reuse of syringes is the major cause of spreading viral disease among children in Larkana.

To put an end to this practice, Dr Mirza said, an injection safety committee and task force had been formed at the national level.

The task force has been working diligently over the past few months and planned to introduce auto-disable syringes which could only be used once, he added.

Dr Mirza urged pharmacists to play their role in educating the masses on injection safety as well as the adverse reactions of drugs.

Unsafe injection practices such as the reuse of disposable syringes has been identified as the main cause behind the HIV and the rise in Hepatitis B and C cases in other parts of the country.

Ministry of health are going to launch a massive media campaign discouraging unnecessary injections in the coming months, he said adding, “We’re also talking to provinces to stop procuring disposable syringes for public hospitals.”

He said multi-sectoral efforts are needed to combat this challenge to save our coming generations.

Dr Mirza stressed the need for cutting down the use of injections and improving hygiene protocols at all medical facilities, including private clinics.