December 2017 was a distressing time for the residents of Bagarmau. The remote town in Uttar Pradesh saw a sudden spike in ailments and more than 21 cases of HIV infection were detected. The affected victims had one thing in common: They were treated by the same doctor.

Police are on the lookout for Rajendra Yadav who has fled the town. The villagers, who were treated by Yadav, claimed that he was careless and ‘fake.’ Yadav never rinsed his needles or syringes, they said.

Raza Hussain Memorial Charitable Trust, which works with patients suffering from HIV, said that fake doctors use glass syringes and the same needle to inject all their patients.

“Villagers are ignorant about hygiene,” said Mehtab Alam, a project manager for Raza Hussain Memorial Charitable Trust.

According to the villagers, Yadav would charge a nominal fee and used to give injections for any and all ailments. Because he charged less, people preferred going to him instead of other hospitals or health care centres.

The incident came to light last year, and the state authorities were alerted. Medical camps set up in the village checked about 566 people, out which 21 tested positive for HIV. All the 21 patients were treated by Yadav.

According to a recent study by World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 16 billion injections are administered annually. Of this, 90% is given in curative care.

The report also highlighted the trend of unsafe syringe practice around the world—especially in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Reuse of syringes would lead to disease such as Ebola, Marburg viruses, bacterial infection, and malaria. The World Health Organization has a series of guidelines to ensure that healthcare workers adopt best practices while using needles and syringes.

The organistion has urged healthcare communities to transition to smart syringes.

The syringe market

According to a report by Rsearch and Markets, the retractable needle safety syringes market is primarily dominated by two product types: Manual retractable syringes and automatic-retractable safety syringes. Of these two segments, the manual retractable syringes are cost-effective and widely used.

The market is also segmented by hospitals, ambulatory surgery centres, and healthcare clinics. According to a report by World Health Organization, the demand for retractable needle safety syringes is skyrocketing in countries in Asia.

Needle stick injuries

Thanks to unsafe syringe practices, event healthcare workers are easily affected by HIV and other virus. According to a recent study published in IOSR Journals by Department of Community Medicine, Tripura Medical College & Dr BRAM Teaching Hospital, Agartala, West Tripura, one in 250 healthcare workers are infected by HIV due to accidental needle sticks.

Needle stick injuries, also referred to as sharps injuries, usually occur during blood sampling, waste collection and transference of blood or body fluids.

Once injured, it could pose serious physical and phycological threats to the victim.

Doctor reportedly strangled a nurse

Last month, a 44-year-old Indian American doctor was arrested for trying to assault and strangle his nurse. He was, however, released on a $3,500 cash bail. Dr Venkatesh Sasthkonar from Nassau University Medical Centre specializes in weight loss surgery. He was reportedly furious with a 51-year-old nurse who had administered medication to a patient at the “wrong time.”

“I should kill you for this," Sasthkonar allegedly told the nurse and tried to strangle her using an elastic cord. He was arrested but released on bail. The doctor’s lawyer said that his client meant no harm and “he was only joking. He said that the charges were blown out of proportion.

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