The WHO strategy for the safe and appropriate use of injections is integrated in the 2000- 2003 strategy of the department of Blood Safety and Clinical Technology (BCT). It has four objectives:
- Policy: Building capacity in countries to formulate, implement, evaluate and update national policies and plans.
- Quality and safety: Ensuring the quality and safety of injection equipment.
- Access: Facilitating equitable access to injection equipment.
- Appropriate use: Achieving appropriate, rational and cost effective use of injections.
In many countries, injections transmit bloodborne pathogens on a large scale. In response, WHO scaled up its injection safety activities and decided to host the secretariat of the Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN).
The SIGN alliance provides a mechanism for information sharing between all partners through a weekly electronic newsletter, an Internet site and an annual coordination meeting. Progress along the four objectives include:
- The establishment of an evidence base (including assessment tools);
- The first elements of a comprehensive system to ensure the quality and safety of syringes and needles;
- Progress to extend the concept of “bundling” to ensure that all supplies of injectable drugs are delivered with matching quantities of safe injection equipment and sharps collection boxes;
- Best practices standards for all types of injections including intramuscular, sub cutaneous, intra dermal injections but also, since 2007, intra venous injections and infusions, phlebotomy and lancet procedures. Although phlebotomies and lancets are not properly injections but rather skin piercing procedures, they were included in the scope of work of the WHO injection safety programme since they represent high risk procedures in terms of blood born pathogen transmission.
- Communication tools targeting both health care workers and the community in order to decrease injection overuse and insure safe injection practices