SIGN meeting 2001, 29-31 August, New Delhi, India
The Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN) met for the third time on 29-31 August 2001 in New Delhi, India, to review progress and identify how the network participants could best facilitate safe and appropriate use of injections worldwide.
Organization of the meeting
The Ministry of Health of India and the Director of the WHO regional office for South East Asia jointly opened the meeting. Three days of work allowed 120 participants to share their experiences. The WHO South East Asia region was particularly well represented as unsafe injections spread bloodborne pathogens on a large scale in this area of the world. The first day was specially dedicated to injection and waste management technologies. The remaining two days were dedicated to broader public health issues, including national policy and plans for the safe and appropriate use of injections, quality and safety of injection equipment, access to injection equipment and safe, cost-effective, rational and appropriate use of injections.
Reviewing progress in 2000-2001
Progress made since the SIGN meeting 2000 was reviewed. First, a number of countries reported having taken steps to formulate national policies for the safe and appropriate use of injections, starting with an assessment. Second, manufacturers of safer injection technologies formed an association in 2001 so that they could participate actively in the formulation of international norms and standards for Auto-Disable (AD) syringes. Third, the international public health community is developing a more holistic approach to injection safety, with progressive engagement of those working in the prevention and care of HIV infection, in family planning and in essential drugs. Fourth, the board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) endorsed a new injection safety policy in June 2001. Finally, active work is ongoing to advocate for the safe and appropriate use of injections throughout the SIGN network.
Proceedings of the meeting
Safer injection technologies were presented, including needle-free injection devices and AD syringes. Discussion regarding efficient health-care waste management strategies emphasized the need for policy frameworks to implement (1) streamlined strategies organized from waste production to waste disposal, (2) training at all levels and (3) the choice of options that include incineration and non-incineration alternatives. A number of countries reported injection safety plans that used across-the-board approaches to include preventive and curative health-care services. Mechanisms to ensure the quality and safety of injection equipment through international norms and standards enforced by national regulatory authorities were presented. Strategies to increase access to injection equipment were discussed, with a specific reference to the use of the essential drug system to bring safe syringes and needles into each health-care facility. Finally, the SIGN toolbox for safe and appropriate use of injections was launched.
The SIGN participants agreed on a list of action points and indicators to monitor progress in collaborative work. Overall, the network participants stated that the coalition made the total more than the sum of its parts and pledged to mobilize resources to achieve safe and appropriate use of injections worldwide.