Kenya: Kenya Holds Training to Prevent Medical Transmission of HIV (September 2007)

The benefits of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) support for medical transmission prevention efforts are evident at Embu Provincial Hospital in Central Kenya. Through training provided by a PEPFAR partner, health workers learned how reducing the number of unnecessary injections lowers the opportunity for medical transmission of HIV.

Through this project, PEPFAR has supported training for 14,832 health workers in 27 districts and six provinces in Kenya on safe injection procedures. The project is estimated to reach 30,000 health workers nationwide by 2009.

"There were so many things we did not know," Nurse Purity Karanja, who attended the injection safety training, said. She and her colleagues learned how to use syringes with features to disable the device after it is used and syringes with needlestick injury protection features.

In addition to teaching nurses how to reduce occupational risk by safely administering injections and immediately disposing of the resulting sharps waste, the training provided by the Making Medical Injections Safer project also educated doctors about oral treatment options available for most illnesses.

Participants learned that disposing of contaminated needles and syringes in a safety box placed within arms reach is an effective means of preventing needlestick injuries to themselves, their colleagues and patients. "We now have confidence that we do not need to recap (needles) and that we can protect ourselves (from HIV transmission)," Nurse Karanja said.

Following the training in mid-August 2006, the Maternal and Child Health Department staff at Embu Provincial Hospital analyzed its prescribing habits. By May 2007 the number of curative injections given in the department decreased by nearly 95 percent. Health care workers at the facility reported feeling better protected from HIV in their work environments.

To promote sustainability of safe injection practices, injection safety training has also been incorporated into some of Kenya's pre-service medical training institutions, ensuring that the country's future doctors, nurses and other health care providers are trained in safe practices to protect themselves and their patients from medical transmission of HIV.

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