Guyana: Improving Safe Sharps Disposal Practices (April 2007)


The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supports efforts to prevent the transmission of HIV and other blood borne diseases through accidental sharps injuries. The safe handling of medical waste can be improved by minimizing the amount of infectious waste and by finding suitable solutions for the disposal of needles and other medical sharps.

With PEPFAR support, the Guyana Safer Injection Project introduced a relatively simple low-tech needle remover and sharps barrel for safe sharps disposal. After it is used, the needle is inserted into a hole at the top of the needle remover. A lever is pulled down, separating the needle so that the syringe cannot be reused. The needle remnants fall through a funnel and into a container that holds approximately 250 to 400 needles. The process ensures that waste is safely disposed of at the point of generation.

The Safer Injection Project has helped health centers and small hospitals in Guyana successfully adopt the new technology. Feedback from both health care providers and waste handlers has been extremely positive. The Ministry of Health will review program evaluation results and will consider using the model as a best practice to be replicated throughout Guyana.


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