June 22, 2009

7m safe injections given in Nigeria in 5 years – SOWANDE

By Chioma Obinna
AN estimated seven million safe injection commodities worth over N104 million was procured and distributed in
Nigeria over the last five years and 10,000 health workers trained in injection safety under the  Making Medical
Injections Safer (MMIS) project funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Country Director, MMIS, Dr. Abimbola Sowande swho disclosed this at a dissemination workshop in Lagos last week,
said safe injection  does no harm to the recipient or expose the health worker to any avoidable risk and does not
result in waste that is dangerous for the community while unsafe injection practices could expose the patient to
diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis C amongst others.

Sowande who stressed the need for effective management of healthcare waste in Nigeria stated that through MMIS
project the Federal and some State governments have identified injection safety and healthcare waste management
as priority areas and major policy documents, norms, adding that guidelines have been developed and disseminated.
According to her, the MMIS project is in its fifth year of the project.

Commending Lagos state government for blazing the trail in injection safety, she called on other states in
Nigeria to copy the best practices currently apply in the state.

In a chat with Good Health Weekly, a Consultant to MMIS,  Dr Eugene Onwuka, who noted that MMIS has been working
in Edo, Anambra, the Federal Capital Territory, Kano, Cross River, Lagos States, called for policies and
guidelines to ensure proper management of medical waste.

Onwuka said there is need for Federal government to immediately act on policies and guidelines already put
together by MMIS and submitted to the Federal Ministry of  health with a view to stop the spread of diseases in
the country.

“MMIS has come up with policies and guidelines. The federal, states’ governments should  enunciate these
policies.  As it is now, it is a working document with the federal ministry of health. We are expecting that the
papers will be out very soon for immediate implementation.

The management of medical waste is still far from what it should be. There should be policy in place and
guidelines in place. He noted that MMIS has been in Nigeria for five years, adding that the dissemination
workshop was to share with stakeholders and government of Lagos State what they have done and how to carry on
when they exited from the state.

Also speaking, the Lagos State Commissioner for health, Dr. Jide Idris who noted that unsafe injection is a more
dangerous phenomenon plaguing many health systems stressed that when safety control practices are not respected,
severe infections can result putting human lives at risk.

Idris explained that unsafe injection practices constitute a powerful engine to transmit blood borne pathogens,
including hepatitis B virus (HBV) amongst others.

He said all hospitals in Lagos are injection safety compliant. “We have already established a very vibrant
infection control committee at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). The committee shall be
replicated in all the state general hospitals soon.”