Baseline assessment of therapeutic injection practices in Pakistan in 2020: a cross-sectional study


Objective: To assess the magnitude of the problem of injection safety in public and private health facilities in two districts of Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan.

Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted between October and December 2020 among public and private health facilities of two districts of Pakistan: Gujarat in Punjab and Larkana in Sindh provinces. A convenient sample size of 60 healthcare facilities (30 from each district) was taken due to time and resource constraint. Six data collection tools were used which included structured observations and interviews with injection prescribers and providers based on WHO Revised Tool C, which were finalised after piloting.

Results: Reuse of injection equipment was not observed in any of the 60 health facilities. In exit interviews of 120 patients, it was found that 27 (22.5%) patients reported receiving an injection, while 11 (9.2%) were prescribed intravenous (IV) drips. More injections and drips were prescribed in the private sector (n=15; 25.0%) in comparison with the public sector (n=12; 20.0%). Slightly higher proportion of IV drips were prescribed by the private providers when compared to public sector healthcare providers: 6 (10.0%) vs 5 (8.3%) respectively. Most of the prescribers (n=58; 96.7%) reported that patients who attended public and private health facilities demanded injectable medicines. Used syringes and drips were noted to be visible in open containers and buckets for final disposal in 20 (33.3%) assessed health facilities.