SIGN meeting 2000, 23-24 October, Cairo, Egypt
The annual Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN) meeting held on 23-24 October 2000 in Cairo, Egypt, was an opportunity to review progress and challenges in the efforts of the coalition to achieve safe and appropriate use of injections worldwide.
Participants of the coalition have made a number of significant achievements in the 12 months that have elapsed since the launch of the network in October 1999. First, two countries, Pakistan and Egypt, constituted national multidisciplinary working groups to achieve safe and appropriate use of injections.
Second, safer injection technologies, including auto-disable (AD) syringes, are increasingly in use. A specific manual has been developed to facilitate their introduction in developing countries and manufacturers of safer injection technologies have decided to form an association to facilitate exchanges with all partners.
Third, key elements of national safe and appropriate use of injection policies have been outlined. A new assessment and evaluation tool is being pilot-tested in six countries, best practices guidelines are available as a draft for public comments and a toolbox for behaviour change is in preparation. Fourth, WHO's Immunization Safety Priority Project (ISPP) has developed critical indicators which will drive progress in immunization services' injection safety.
In the future, SIGN participants agree to work more in the five following areas:
- Identifying mechanisms to facilitate integration of their experience acquired through pilot and demonstration projects so that national policies to reduce unnecessary injections and achieve safe practices can be formulated and funded.
- Encouraging rigorous evaluation of safer injection equipment and waste management options and dissemination of evaluation results to manufacturers, WHO, donors and purchasers to facilitate research and development, create international norms and standards and introduce newer technologies on a large scale.
- Promoting a holistic approach to safe and appropriate use of injections that goes beyond the simple provision of supplies to also include behaviour change activities and sharps waste management policies that are budgeted and financed.
- Providing technical assistance to WHO, donors, lenders, the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) and country Inter-agency Coordinating Committees (ICCs) to (a) address injection safety in immunization services beyond the simple provision of supplies through "bundling" and (b) resolve difficulties created by the availability of different types of injection equipment from different sources at country level.
- Communicate through an overall strategy to reach all stakeholders, from users of injections to major donors and lenders, by making use of all channels, including the Internet.