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Even letter from Union Health Ministry fails to cut much ice

The Gujarat government has not placed a single order for Auto-Disabled syringes till date,it has been learnt.

Written by Amrita Didyala | Ahmedabad |
February 24, 2009 1:31:14 am

The Gujarat government has not placed a single order for Auto-Disabled (AD) syringes till date,it has been learnt. This despite several attempts by the Association of Indian Medical Devices Industries to convince the government about the benefits of the same,and a letter by Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss directing the use of AD syringes in all government hospitals by April.

Gujarat stands second last in the list of states adopting safe injection practices,but state Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas has yet ruled out the use of AD syringes.

Incidentally,this comes at a time when the minister has himself confirmed the use of infected syringes to be the reason behind the Hepatitis B outbreak in Modasa,which has claimed 44 lives till Monday and has left 137 recuperating in various hospitals. Vyas has clarified that AD syringes will not be of much help. Besides,he has also questioned their availability.

Vyas said:“The comparative cost of an Auto-Disabled syringe to a disposable syringe is really high,about 20 times or more. A disposable syringe costs less than two rupees. There will be no cost benefit or substantial quality improvement with their introduction. Manual destruction of the syringes will work equally well,but we will have to ensure that they are not reused.”

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He added:“When doctors are yet to be made available at all rural areas,how can we talk of such sophistication?”

Contradicting the minister’s facts,the president of the Association of the Indian Medical Devices Industries,Rajiv Nath said: “The retail price of an AD syringe varies between five and six rupees while the price at which it is offered to government hospitals varies between three and four rupees. We have been constantly in touch with the AMC,the Health Department and the Indian Medical Association (IMA)’s Gujarat chapter for introducing AD syringes. Even after five formal presentations and 100 seminars/ training sessions,we have not received any positive reply in four years. Neither the AMC nor the government has placed a single order for AD syringes till date.”

ADvantage other states
* States like Maharashtra,Madhya Pradesh,Orissa,West Bengal,Assam,Kerala apart from Delhi and Mumbai have initiated the use of Auto-Disabled (AD) syringes
* Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh went in for universal use of AD syringes a year ago
* The only state worse than Gujarat is Tamil Nadu,which still uses glass syringes
* Gujarat stands second last in list of states adopting safe injection practices

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