Occupational health

Needlestick injuries

Protecting health-care workers - preventing needlestick injuries

Activities page illustration

WHO reports in the World Health Report 2002, that of the 35 million health-care workers, 2 million experience percutaneous exposure to infectious diseases each year. It further notes that 37.6% of Hepatitis B, 39% of Hepatitis C and 4.4% of HIV/AIDS in Health-Care Workers around the world are due to needlestick injuries.

The objective of the pilot projects is to reduce the exposure to HIV and other sharps-related infections (hepatitis B and C) in health care workers associated with injections. These projects which commenced in August 2003 are being implemented by WHO (Headquarters, Regional and National Offices), WHO Collaborating Centres and the International Council of Nurses, and are based on the Toolkit entitled "Behaviour Change Strategy to Achieve a Safe and Appropriate Use of Injections". The Toolkit provides technical and political guidance to health-care workers, administrators and politicians in order to promote injection safety.