Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Background: A study in 1994 identified frequent unsafe injections as the cause of widespread hepatitis C virus infection in Hafizabad, Pakistan. A simple low cost community education program was assessed to see if it improved injection safety.Methods: A local health organization developed educational materials on hepatitis C including advice on how to avoid unnecessary injections and, when injections were necessary, to use a new syringe and needle. Beginning in 1995, this advice was communicated through multiple channels including health education meetings, announcements in mosques, and via pamphlets. In 1998 study workers revisited controls from the 1994 case-control study (along with three of their neighbors of a similar age) to collect information on injection practices in the previous 12 months.Results: Thirty-three percent of the study's participants in 1998 received >or=5 injections in the preceding 12 months compared to 40% of the hepatitis C virus negative controls reported in the year prior to the 1994 study (p=0.85). In 1998 52 persons (34%) brought their own syringe for their most recent injection, a practice that was unreported in 1994. Overall, in 1998 59% of patients received their most recent injection with a new syringe and needle compared to 24% in 1994 (p=0.003).CONCLUSIONS: Following this low cost health communication effort, community members took steps to protect themselves from unsafe injections.

Publication

International Journal of Infectious Diseases

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