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Unsafe injections kill 390,000 prematurely
Updated: 2004-08-05 21:29

About 390,000 Chinese have died prematurely from unsafe injections, said a think tank of China's Ministry of Health Thursday.

The Thinktank Health Research Center released the statistics at a seminar on unsafe injection that opened Thursday in Beijing.

The results show that AIDS and HBV (Hepatitis B Infection) caused by unsafe injections have caused 390,000 premature deaths and 6.89 million Disability Adjustment Life Year losses. The direct medical spending on unsafe injection has reached 142 million US dollars.

There are 3 billion injections in China annually, one fifth of the global total. In poor western regions and rural areas, it's a common practice of grass-roots clinics to reuse disposable syringes without effective disinfection measures.

Statistics show that 30 per cent of immune injections and 50 perc ent of therapeutic ones are unsafe. In western rural areas, more 70 per cent of disposable syringes for single use are reused.

Unsafe injections have also caused damage to doctors and nurses. Guo Yanhong, in charge of the MOH injection department, said one million medical workers had been hurt by needles annually, some of whom got HBV or HIV/AIDS.

China has 840,000 HIV carriers and 120 million HBV carriers, 10 per cent of the total population. Two thirds of the latter caught the virus before the age of five.

Ye Lei, national director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global AIDS Program-China, believes that the best way to avoid unsafe injections is to use Auto- disabled (AD) Syringes which can be self-destructed after the injection.

Ye said AD Syringes, with a price only 0.01 US dollars higher than the current single-use ones, are cheap enough for rural consumers.

However, the product is far from popular in the country. Despite 30 manufacturers with an annual capacity of 1.7 billion, the annual sales of AD Syringes linger at 100 million due to low domestic demand.

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