Innovation, diffusion and safety of a medical technology: a review of the literature on injection practices.
The rapid uptake of the hypodermic syringe as a medical technology by physicians in Europe and America since its introduction in the middle of the 19th century has led to a level of medical and public acceptance seldom reached by other therapeutic techniques. Presently, the developed world has clear guidelines regarding injection use and safety; in contrast, developing countries are facing the brunt of risks associated with the use of this technology, which was introduced into their societies during the early 20th century. There is now a popular demand for injections, and an alarming number of unnecessary and unsafe injections are being administered. The problem of unsafe injections is not restricted to curative injections, but includes immunizations too. The association of unsafe injections and infection transmission is quite clear, and there is an urgent need to reduce the number of required injections and make them safe. An understanding of the determinants of current injection practices in the socio-cultural-economic context is necessary in order to plan relevant and effective interventions.
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