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?Needle stick injury cause for concern?

MORE THAN 20 types of infections, including the deadly HIV, Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV), could occur due to needle stick injuries (NSI), says Dr D S Chitnis.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2006 18:50 IST

MORE THAN 20 types of infections, including the deadly HIV, Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV), could occur due to needle stick injuries (NSI), says Dr D S Chitnis.

The renowned microbiologist and coordinator of the infection control committee at the Choithram Hospital and Research Centre (CHRC) was speaking on ‘Needle Stick Injuries: Statistics and Prevention Strategies’ at the hospital auditorium in the City on Saturday.

“Needle sharps are a major reason for the growing incidences of NSI. Prevalence of HIV in normal population (patients) is 0.5 per cent, HBV is 3-5 per cent and HCV is 1-2 per cent and hence the health care workers need to be very careful while dealing with patients,” the doctor added.

Chitnis speech was part of the Indore Occupational Safety for Healthcare Workers (IOSH 2006) organised jointly by B Braun — a company supplying products in healthcare market — and CHRC. The session was organised for the healthcare workers from all the hospitals in the City to create awareness about the percutaneous injuries caused by needle sticks (puncturing of the skin by a needle), which poses a significant risk of occupational transmission of blood-born pathogens such as HIV, HBV and HCV.

The various ways through which an injury can occur includes unsafe injections, during mutilation, during recapping of needles, (unpredictable) movement of patient and collection of garbage, he said. “The seriousness of the infection depends on the concentration of virus in the patients (carriers).”

Discussing the various methods to contain infection, Chitnis observed, “Dipping the equipment in hypo-chloride may not always be a fool proof method. Autoclave can be one of the more reliable methods.”

He also elaborated with statistics as to how with sustained efforts the staff has been able to reduce the incidence of NSI at CHRC and also the measures taken by the management, one of them being vaccination/ immunisation of all employees, including the class four employees of the hospital.

The nursing staff is the most vulnerable group in the healthcare workers sector followed by group D workers and the least exposed are doctors, he added.

Earlier, speaking on ‘Introduction to Infection Control Programme’, CHRC director (Medical Services) Dr Kamalakar Vaidya said that infection control programme and disposal of bio-medical waste go hand in hand. The hospital has a full-fledged team that works round the clock to maintain the standards.

Among the measures adopted by the hospital staff, universal precautions form an integral part, Dr Vaidya, who is also the chairman of the infection control committee of the hospital, said and counted the different steps taken by the staff, including something as simple as putting on waterproof band-aids by staff with abrasions and cuts to following serious procedures as maintaining special care cards for HIV/HBV/HCV affected patients.

Sister Nizy Vargese, the infection control nurse at the hospital, spoke about NSI protocol and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), i.e. measures to be taken if at all the incidence of NSI occurs. She elaborated on PEP steps taken by the staff at CHRC.

B Braun’s regional sales manager Prashant Trivedi spoke about sharp safety mechanism design as propagated by the products of his company. A panel discussion followed after the talks, wherein Vaidya, Chitnis, Trivedi and Shashi Gandhi from M Y Hospital answered the queries from the audience.

Gandhi praised CHRC as having the best bio-medical waste disposable arrangements in the city, which prompted Vaidya to inform that CHRC spends approximately Rs 15 lakh annually on management of bio-medical waste and Rs 7 lakh annually on infection control programme.

Apart from the CHRC’s staff, nursing staff from MY Hospital, Bombay Hospital and CHL Apollo Hospital and other healthcare workers attended the programme.