New Delhi: Hope floated for the advocates of National Swachha Injection Abhiyan with the launch of National Viral Hepatitis Control Program by the Government of India. But they have expressed cautious optimism fearing Chinese imported injections might hijack the space being created for safe injections in India.
J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the control program on 28th July, 2018 to mark the World Hepatitis Day, pledging to work towards elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030 in India. At a function Mr Nadda also released the Operational Guidelines for National Viral Hepatitis Control Program, National Laboratory Guidelines for Viral Hepatitis Testing and National Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Viral Hepatitis. Manoj Sinha, MoS (Independent Charge), Ministry of Communication also released the Commemorative Stamp at the occasion.
Seeing Auto Disable Reuse Prevention (AD- RUP) Syringes to be fulcrum of this Control program, Pradeep Sarin, Trustee of Safe Point, a global campaign for safe injection, has applauded the launch calling it great initiative. Rajiv Nath Jt Mg Director of HMD that makes the Kojak brand of Auto Disable Reuse Prevention (AD- RUP) Syringes, a strong advocate for Injection Safety and seeking a National Swach Injection Abhiyan is elated too but he has expressed some doubt as well.
Mr Nath says, ‘After requesting for a National Nodal Injection Safety Officer since over 10 years, we are delighted and optimistic to see a National Consultant for Injection Safety being appointed for the noble initiative but let’s hope this National Plan on Safe Injections is not fuelled by Chinese Imported Syringes as being done for Immunization and keeping Indian factories capacity idle.
Dr.(Col) HS Ratti, an epidemiologist and Project Advisor to Safe Point, which is working to create awareness about safe injections, is hopeful that the ‘National Plan on Safe Injections’ initiative launched is India’s commitment towards elimination of viral hepatitis by well laid out strategy which hopefully will now be covering Prevention from Unsafe Injections, Testing patients with Safe Equipment that prevents Needle Stick injury to the lab technician and free Treatment to the patient .’
In India, around 40 million people are infected with hepatitis B and at least 6 million people with hepatitis C. About 184 000 people die each year of hepatitis B- and C-related complications – two times the estimated annual number of HIV and malaria deaths together.
Dr Ratti urged the Govt. to accelerate a switch to ‘Auto Disable Syringes’ to limit HIV and Hepatitis Epidemic. There are villages with over half the population infected with Hepatitis or HIV due to reuse of Syringes by quacks. In order to prevent reuse of syringes and contain spread of infection, it is advisable and recommended to use AD syringes specifically designed to prevent reuse. This reuse prevention has been strongly advocated by WHO.
Andhra Pradesh government has already taken a lead in this regard and had issued instructions in May for 100% use of AD syringes in its public health facilities from 28th Jul 2018 which is observed as World Hepatitis Day.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Anupriya Patel, Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare along with Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health), Ananta Narayan Nanda, Secretary, Dept. of Posts and Dr S Venkatesh, DGHS were also present at the launch function.