Injection safety and waste management

Even as health care systems in developing countries continue to grow stronger and better training and care reaches more people, the challenges associated with contaminated needles and medical waste continue to persist—exposing health workers, patients, and communities to unnecessary risk. For example, each year, an estimated 21 million hepatitis B, 2 million hepatitis C, and 260,000 HIV infections occur from accidental needlestick injuries and needle reuse—causing 1.3 million early deaths, a loss of 26 million years of life, and US$535 million in direct medical costs per annum globally.

Since the 1980s, in collaboration with many different partners, PATH has developed technologies that make it easier to safely handle and dispose of injection equipment and medical waste. PATH also works with health ministries worldwide to assess and prioritize low-cost options for medical waste disposal and improve practices and policies to protect patients, health workers, and communities from needle-stick injuries and exposure to biohazardous materials. Visit PATH’s website to learn more about its work on safer injections and health care waste management.

View resources on injection safety and waste management

Key resources

WHO Best Practices for Injections and Related Procedures Toolkit (2010)
A toolkit on standard precautions relevant to the transmission of bloodborne pathogens through unsafe injection practices in health care settings.

The Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN) Alliance
A web page for the SIGN Alliance which aims to achieve safe and appropriate use of injections worldwide.

Featured PATH resources

Technologies for Injection Safety (2013)
A fact sheet that describes PATH's work to enable safe injections and vaccine waste management.

Unsafe Injections, Fatal Injections (2000)
A paper about the extent of unsafe injections and complex reasons why many injections are given in an unsafe manner.

Page last updated: February 2014.