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International News

Pakistan: Risky Shots

May 15, 2013

Unnecessary injections, unsafe injection practices, and non-sterile syringes and needles are major factors contributing to the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Pakistan, according to Dr. Quaid Saeed, World Health Organization (WHO) national program officer on HIV and hepatitis. Other factors that contribute to the spread of the virus include poverty and illiteracy, roadside dentists' use of unsterilized equipment, and "contaminated blood transfusions," according to Saeed. Pakistan has had a Safe Blood Transfusion Act since 2002, but Saeed stated that only Punjab province has implemented the legislation fully. He estimated that Pakistan does not screen 40 percent of blood transfusions for HCV and HIV. Pakistan's laws do not regulate syringe use.

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