WHO best practices for injections and related procedures toolkit
Medical treatment is intended to save life and improve health, and all health workers have a responsibility to prevent transmission of health-care associated infections. Adherence to safe injection practices and related infection control is part of that responsibility – it protects patients and health workers. Unsafe injections can result in transmission of a wide variety of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. They can also cause non-infectious adverse events such as abscesses and toxic reactions. Reuse of syringes or needles is common in many settings. It exposes patients to pathogens either directly (via contaminated equipment) or indirectly (via contaminated medication vials) }.The risks of unsafe injection practices have been well documented for the three primary bloodborne pathogens – human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). A safe injection is one that does not harm the recipient, does not expose the provider to any avoidable risks and does not result in waste that is dangerous for the community. Unsafe injection practices can lead to transmission of bloodborne pathogens, with their associated burden of disease. The purpose of this toolkit is to promote implementation of safe practices associated with the following medical procedures: intradermal, subcutaneous and intramuscular needle injections; intravenous infusions and injections; dental injections; phlebotomy; and lancet procedures. The document complements and expands existing World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and related materials.