By Paul Obi
Following complaints about poor handling of medical facilities in the country, the Federal Government Thursday in Abuja issued a deadline for the phasing-out of conventional syringes.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said from October 1, 2012, all Federal Government-owned health institutions would no longer use conventional syringes for injection of patients.
Chukwu, who issued this deadline at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and the Rivers State Government for the bulk purchase of auto-disable syringes, said migration from conventional to auto-disable syringes was in line with the national health policy, adding that this was affirmed by the highest decision making body on health in this country, the National Council on Health (NCH).
According to Chukwu, “It is important for us to move away from conventional syringes to auto-disable syringes as a strategy to reduce transmission of infections particularly infections such as Hepatitis B, HIV and so many diseases that are blood borne.”
The minister also called on all state governments to begin to implement the decision of the National Council on Health regarding this issue, explaining that the National Council on Health was a forum where federal and state governments sit down and take decisions on matters that border on healthcare delivery in the country.
He also called on the private sector to buy into this decision to conform with international best practices and also enjoined other manufacturing companies to move from manufacturing conventional syringes to auto-disable syringes.
He said the Pan African Health Foundation, which manufactures the auto-disable syringes is owned by a number of stakeholders including the Federal Government, the Rivers State Government and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In his response, Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, assured the minister of the state government readiness to ensure the full implementation of the programme.
He added that with the signing of the agreement, the state Ministry of Health has been compelled to work out measures that completely phase out conventional syringes through out the state.