Ensuring sharps do no harm
Each year, an estimated 21 million hepatitis B, 2 million hepatitis C, and 260,000 HIV infections occur from accidental needlestick injuries and needle reuse—causing 1.3 million early deaths, a loss of 26 million years of life, and $535 million in direct medical costs per annum globally.1–3 Even as health care systems in developing countries continue to grow stronger and better training and care reaches more people, the challenges associated with contaminated needles and medical waste continue to persist—exposing health workers, patients, and communities to unnecessary risk.
Through the development of new technologies and strategic partnerships, PATH is working to make needle-based injections safer for health workers and the communities they serve.
Disarming sharps waste
PATH is a pioneer in developing and introducing innovative technologies that make it easier to safely handle and dispose of sharps waste. Our work in this area prioritizes ways to safeguard and disarm needle-based injection technologies at the point of use, including:
- Making needle reuse impossible. Autodisable (AD) syringes cannot be reused—the plunger locks within the body of the syringe, preventing reuse and the potential transmission of disease from one patient to another. PATH helped to develop two groundbreaking single-use AD delivery devices, the SoloShot™ syringe and the Uniject™ injection system, and continues to collaborate with other developers and manufacturers of AD and reuse prevention feature syringes to make sure they are appropriate, affordable, and available for use in low-resource settings. Visit our page on autodisable syringes to learn more »
- Strengthening health care waste management systems. Health workers should not fear that saving another’s life will endanger their own. Nor should communities pay for better health care with medical waste they are not yet able to effectively and successfully manage. PATH has a long history of developing training programs and supporting system-wide changes that ensure high-quality care does not negatively impact the health of communities in low-resource settings. Visit our page on health care waste management to learn more »
- Taking the sharp out of sharps waste. Needle removers “defang” syringes, eliminating the needles after injection and isolating them in secure containers before they are properly discarded. PATH has worked with private-sector manufacturers to evaluate and improve needle removers that are already on the market so that these tools reach the health workers and clinics where they are most needed. Visit our page on needle removers to learn more »
SoloShot and Uniject are trademarks of BD.
1. Miller MA, Pisani E. The cost of unsafe injections. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 1999;77(10):808–811.
2. World Health Organization (WHO). Injection safety [fact sheet]. Geneva: WHO; 2012. Available at: http://tinyurl.com/oj3qat5.
3. WHO. Safety of injections: Global facts and figures [fact sheet]. WHO/EHT/04.04. Geneva: WHO; 2004. Available at: http://tinyurl.com/m83mryy.