Overview

 

Needle sticks and other sharps injuries to healthcare workers (HCW) have been associated with transmission of blood borne viral infections like hepatitis B and C viruses and human immunodeficiency virus. It is estimated that every day, over 1,000 hospital-based HCW sustain an injury from contaminated needles and other sharp devices during the delivery of patient care; countless others occur in other healthcare settings such as nursing homes, outpatient clinics, physician offices, and emergency care services. The prevention of sharps injuries in HCW is a national priority and a strong commitment is needed for prevention of this occupational health hazard.

In India there is gross under reporting and lack of awareness regarding occupation safety for these blood borne viruses. Most hospitals and nursing homes don’t have any practice guidelines to prevent NSI and protect their health care workers from this health hazard. Indian hospitals often do not have the resources to invest in safety devices and protective equipment to decrease this risk.

If however an expert helps them in guiding and management of such incidence most of the problems can be resolved. ILBS being a premier Liver institute specializes in management of blood borne viral infections and we have the technical knowhow and expertise in management of such infections commonly spread by needle stick/ sharps.

The ILBS has therefore embarked on a mission to provide a support platform for health care workers who have professional exposure to blood borne infections but do not have the requisite knowledge/ knowhow to manage them. ILBS has planned to launch a website on Needle stick injuries this year. This website provides information, tools, and strategies to reduce workers’ exposure to blood and body fluids of patients infected with blood borne pathogens, such as HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). The greatest risk for workers is posed by percutaneous injuries (e.g., needle sticks and injuries from other sharp devices).

This is just a launch of a nationwide movement for Health care workers safety. To ensure a successful program each healthcare facility and care setting will need to tailor its approach to the specific risks and characteristics of the clinical environment and the needs and preferences of the workers.

As elaborated earlier there is no realistic data from India regarding the actual incidence of needle stick injuries in India. In the light of lack of credible data key policy initiatives, research and protocol development in this field are also absent. Therefore there is an urgent need to collect credible hospital based data on needle stick injuries through a registry. The ILBS NSI – website will provide a platform for a centralized registry for needle stick injuries. The vision of ILBS is not only to create an institutional database on needle stick/ sharps injuries but to expand it as a state-wide and thereafter national NSI Registry. In this regard we also solicit the cooperation and support from the state and national government to partner in this initiative and make the reporting of NSI mandatory. This can begin with publicising the website in Govt. hospitals followed by making it mandatory for the private hospitals too.