Safe in Common, an online community of healthcare workers, educators, patients, community leaders and individuals, today announced the launch of its website dedicated to raising awareness of global injection safety challenges.
Safe in Commons launch coincides with the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, which mandates the use of safety-engineered medical devices, (SEMDs), within U.S. healthcare facilities to protect healthcare workers and patients from the risk of needlestick injuries. Despite this legislation and its enforcement by OSHA, healthcare workers continue to remain at risk of harm. For example, reports in the U.S. indicate that currently available safety syringes are not providing adequate levels of protection. In fact, reported needlestick injuries in Massachusetts have not fallen since 2002, and safety products are responsible for the majority of those injuries.
While steps have been taken in the U.S. and Europe to mandate the use of SEMDs, the harm caused by unsafe injection practices represents a global humanitarian challenge. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 1.3 million needlestick related deaths worldwide each year.
As a former nurse, I have first-hand experience with the physical and emotional dangers of a needlestick injury. However, the problems and risks associated with needlestick injuries are real and affect the lives of millions of people around the world, not just those in the healthcare field, says Mary Foley, associate director of the Center for Nursing Research and Innovation. Much has been accomplished since the signing of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000, but the safety laws and policies currently in place are poorly enforced and need to be addressed. Safe in Common is in a unique to position to advocate for this change. Not only will Safe in Common serve as a community for those impacted by unsafe needlestick practices and injuries, but it will also act as a unified voice to educate and fight for better, more effective solutions.
Led by a team of highly experienced and influential board members, Safe in Common was created to raise awareness and support the global transition to safe, simple injections. As a social community, Safe in Common will also seek to provide support and coverage to all international markets focused on the enhancement of safe injection practices.
Outside of healthcare facilities, Safe in Common will also seek to address specific injection safety challenges relating to patients who administer prescription drugs at home, injecting drug users and other stakeholders associated with harm reduction, and the vaccination / immunization programs of developing and emerging nations. With such markets that operate largely outside of healthcare facilities, unsafe injection practices such as the re-use, sharing or unsafe disposal of non-sterile injection devices may accelerate HIV and hepatitis C epidemics.
The new website, www.safeincommon.org, will feature blogs, a resource library, links to industry information, forums for contributors to express thoughts and experiences, surveys, and other ways to interact and promote injection safety.
Current Safe in Common board members include Mary Foley:RN, MS, PhD, past-president of the American Nursing Association and associate director of the Center for Nursing Research and Innovation, University of California, San Francisco; Ron Stoker, executive director of the International Sharps Injury Protection Society (ISIPS); Gerald Verollet, former head of the medical device division at the World Health Organization (WHO); Jason Tetro, infection control advocate, blogger and coordinator at two research centers for microbiology at the University of Ottawa; and Evelyn McKnight, patient safety advocate, author of "A Never Event" and founder of HONOReform, a national advocacy organization dedicated to protecting patients through safeguarding the medical injection process.
Safe in Common is also being sponsored by Unilife Corporation, a medical device company focused on the design, development, manufacture and supply of a proprietary range of retractable syringes.
The community seeks additional alliances with organizations that share in the goal of reducing the global harms of needlestick injuries and other unsafe injection practices. For more information about Safe in Common, visit: www.safeincommon.org.