World Health Organization pushes for ‘smart’ syringes

02/23/15 10:44 AM—Updated 02/23/15 11:19 AM
By Michele Richinick Doctors with the World Health Organization (WHO) are pushing for “smart” syringes and arguing that such a practice is “absolutely critical” for stopping the spread of deadly infectious diseases from one person to another.
The use of the same syringe to give multiple people injections is spreading deadly diseases, the WHO wrote Monday in a statement, adding that if all health care providers administered syringes that can’t be used more than once, millions of people worldwide could be protected from infections acquired through unsafe injections.
“Adoption of safety-engineered syringes is absolutely critical to protecting people worldwide from becoming infected with HIV, hepatitis and other diseases. This should be an urgent priority for all countries,” Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the WHO HIV/AIDS Department, wrote in the statement.

Traditional syringes cost as much as $0.04 when obtained by a United Nations agency for a developing country. The new “smart” syringes cost at least twice that much. WHO is asking donors to support the transition to these devices, anticipating that prices will decline over time as demand increases.
WHO urges countries to transition to “smart” syringes by 2020.
WHO launched the new policy and global campaign along with the IKEA Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help all countries tackle the pervasive issue of unsafe injections.