The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new program on Monday that encourages health professionals around the world to begin using “smart” syringes in order to stop the spread of infectious diseases.
Millions of people contract potentially deadly infectious diseases because health care professionals use hypodermic needles more than once. WHO maintains that the best way to break this bad health habit is to use only single-use needles.
“Smart” syringes are specially designed so that they cannot be reused. There is a variety of models. Some have a weak plunger that will break if the health care worker tries to pull it back for a second use. Others contain metal clips that prevent the plunger from being drawn back. Still others have retracting needles that retreat into the syringe barrel after the injection is complete.
Some “smart” syringes also have sheaths that cover the needle after the injection, which protects health professionals from accidental “needle stick” injuries.
"Adoption of safety-engineered syringes is absolutely critical to protecting people worldwide from becoming infected with HIV, hepatitis and other diseases,” Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the WHO HIV/AIDS Department, said. "This should be an urgent priority for all countries."
WHO is encouraging health professionals around the world to only use “smart” syringes by 2020.