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Safe Blood Effort Launches

Safe Blood Effort Launches

Kenyan health authorities are teaming with medical technology company Becton, Dickinson and Co. to train clinicians to safely collect and handle blood.

"We have an ambitious program to eliminate potentially any risk of HIV transmission in our health care settings," said Nicholas Muraguri, head of Kenya's National AIDS/STD Control Program. The three-year initiative is being carried out under the auspices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The 650,000 Kenyans under care for HIV require a minimum of two blood draws per year, Muraguri noted.

"Now, if that's not done properly, there is an obvious risk to the health worker and also a risk to the patient as well. Within a certain environment, we can completely stop transmission," Muraguri said.

The training program will be implemented in eight facilities in four high-prevalence regions of the country. While the rate of HIV among Kenya's adults is 7%, some regions report adult prevalence as high as 15%, according to Muraguri.

The program will address injection safety, including proper use and disposal of hypodermic needles. The 20 health care workers in the program also will learn how to ensure the quality of the blood specimen itself.

"If you don't get a correct sample, you probably mismanage the patient as well," Muraguri said.

Becton, Dickinson and Co. also will fund the construction of two incinerators in Kenya for the disposal of medical waste.

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