Multi-Prong Approach Needed To Stem Unsafe Injection Practices At Private Medical Clinics In Pakistan, Expert Writes

CNN: Pakistan’s latest HIV outbreak was a crisis waiting to happen
Arshad Altaf, HIV and injection safety expert who works as a consultant for the WHO

“…Unfortunately, unsafe injection practices are common at private clinics and dispensaries [in Pakistan]. … This has led to numerous outbreaks of both hepatitis B and C, and in more recent years, the spread of HIV among previously low-risk communities. … To prevent future outbreaks, there needs to be a major overhaul of Pakistan’s health care delivery system. Regulatory authorities must crack down on quack practices of all types, and ensure providers are trained and licensed. Government-run primary health centers must remain open for longer to provide services to patients and communities when they need it. There is also a need to increase awareness among patients and communities about the risk of reusing syringes, as well as for men visiting barbers to ensure that new blades are used for shaving purposes. AIDS control programs must also work out a strategy to identify as many people living with HIV as possible, and give them access to the proper medicine, as well as improving prevention programs among at risk populations such as sex workers and drug users…” (11/5).