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Monday, 25 November, 2002, 12:44 GMT
China's dirty needles risk 'daily' infection
Chinese doctor at work
The WHO says dirty needles are helping to spread HIV

The World Health Organisation says that in China at least 30% of all injections given to people are unsafe.

In rural areas of the country the situation is reported to be even worse.

The WHO says the widespread re-use of dirty and unsterilised syringes in China is leading to a health crisis, spreading deadly diseases such as hepatitis B and HIV.

Every day all over China, healthy people are unknowingly being infected with deadly diseases due to unsafe injections.

That is the disturbing finding of the WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund.

Deadly recycling

According to them, at least a third of all injections in China are unsafe, but in poor rural areas it can be as high as 100%.

China's hospitals are not fulfilling even the most basic of hygiene standards.

Syringes and needles are being recycled; often doctors use the same syringe over and over, only changing the needle.

The reason is cost - China's healthcare system is falling apart.

Government funding has been slashed and hospitals are being left to fend for themselves.

The result is that hundreds of thousands of Chinese people are being affected with diseases like hepatitis B and HIV.

China has by far the highest rate of hepatitis B infection in the world.

Each year nearly 300 people die of the disease here - that is one third of the total global deaths from hepatitis B.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
"China's health care system is falling apart"

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21 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
25 Nov 02 | Health
20 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
06 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
27 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
23 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
05 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
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