Glass Syringes Different From Disposable Needles


Reverting to glass syringes is 'safer'. Glass syringes […]

Reverting to glass syringes is 'safer'. Glass syringes were never banned in India, they were forced into obscurity as disposable syringes were being vociferously promoted.

While sterilised glass syringes can be reused, disposable plastic syringes are supposed to be used only once. The a/d syringes are one-shot injections, which automatically break or jam after being used once, and cannot be reused. And uni-inject needles, the latest technology, are pre-filled injections, which are destroyed after being used once.

Who says glass syringes are bad? If properly sterilised or autoclaved, they are better than the disposable ones. Boiling the syringes for 20 minutes can kill almost all the viruses such as that of Hepatitis and hiv.

As compared to glass syringes, the disposable ones are collected by rag pickers, repacked and sold in the market. Under the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, the syringes should be destroyed in a prescribed manner to ensure that they are not recycled. But this is hardly done.

Sterilised glass syringes can be used in hospitals and institutional set-ups, where people have facilities for sterilisation and autoclaving. But what about outreach camps for immunisation? How will a health worker carry these heavy equipments to far-flung areas?" asks the official from path.

Evidently, sterilised glass syringes will reduce the amount of waste generated and minimise the risk of infection. But the poser remains: who will ensure that they are properly sterilised? Till a feasibility study about the efficacy of glass syringes in India is conducted the debate promises to continue.