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Reusing syringes

July 31, 2019

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APROPOS the editorial ‘HIV/AIDS in Pakistan’ (July 30). As a health professional involved in taking care of HIV/AIDS patients, I am grateful to Dawn for its editorial, which highlights the serious situation in the country.

Besides other reasons, the cause of the recent outbreak of HIV in Ratodero was identified as a reuse of contaminated disposable syringes. According to reports, the syringes had been used multiple times not only by the quacks but also by qualified doctors.

The practice of injudicious use of injections is the leading cause of rising incidence of not only HIV but also of Hepatitis C cases in Pakistan. Injections are recommended only in serious illnesses when medicine is not available in oral form or when a patient is too sick to take medicine by mouth. The only other indication to use injections in healthy people is for vaccination. There is a common misconception amongst the masses that injections are more effective than oral medications.

There is a need to educate the public on the hazards of injections. The Pakisten Electronic Media Regulatory Authority should direct TV channels to air public service announcements regarding the hazards of injections. All hospitals should have a mechanism to destroy used syringes and drip sets to prevent recycling.

Strict action should be taken against people involved in the deadly business of collecting used syringes and then resupplying them in the market.

Javaid A. Khan

Karachi

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2019