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February, 2018 >>

Galvanizing government institutions into vaccinating undergraduate medical students: An indispensable practice

Rabiya Javed, Sarmad Pirzada, Ali Ahmad Jilani  ( Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi )

Abstract

Madam, healthcare workers (HCW) are at an increased risk of needle-stick injuries due to occupational exposure. A significant fraction of infection with hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) amongst HCWs is due to percutaneous injuries, which is around 37%, 39%, and 4.4%, respectively.1 Undergraduate medical students are expected to undertake tasks associated with patient care from the commencement of their clinical years. As they lack experience and skill, the students are at an increased risk of exposure and subsequent infection from unsafe practices related to needles and sharps.2
According to a study conducted in seven medical colleges across Karachi, 79% students claimed to be vaccinated for hepatitis B but only 70.6% were fully vaccinated with 3 doses34
The usual practice carried out internationally5 and in many universities across Karachi, mostly in the private sector,6 is thorough and exemplary. Moreover, medical students applying in various elective programmes abroad also require multiple vaccinations.7 However, the situation is not as bleak because a few research-based immunisation programmes have been initiated by organisations like Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) that provide medical students with free-of-cost vaccination.8 However, few institutions alone are not enough to cater the large number of students enrolled in government institutions.
To counter the aforementioned problems caused by the blatant negligence towards vaccination practices by both the administration and students of medical universities, vaccination should be made mandatory and provided free-of-cost at institutional-level, access to vaccination should be made convenient and peers and teachers at university should be more encouraging in this regard.9 Studies also show that there has been an increase in uptake of vaccinations with evidence-based discussions and awareness campaigns. Therefore, medical universities should focus on educating the students about the necessity of vaccinations for the prevention of communicable diseases as well as designing a foolproof system for monitoring it.10 A programme ensuring the proper and up-to-date immunisation is highly recommended as it is in the interests of the safety and health of the medical students — the country's most valuable asset — as well as that of the patients.

 


Disclaimer: None to declare.
Conflict of Interest: None to declare.
Funding Disclosure: None to declare.

References

1. Prüss-Ustün A, Rapiti E, Hutin Y. Estimation of the global burden of disease attributable to contaminated sharps injuries among health-care workers. Am J Ind Med 2005; 48: 482-90.
2. Saleem T, Khalid U, Ishaque S, Zafar A. Knowledge, attitudes and practices of medical students regarding needle stick injuries. J Pak Med Assoc 2010; 60: 151-6.
3.  Khan N, Ahmed SM, Khalid MM, Siddiqui SH, Merchant AA. Effect of gender and age on the knowledge, attitude and practice regarding hepatitis B and C and vaccination status of hepatitis B among medical students of Karachi, Pakistan. J Pak Med Assoc 2010; 60: 450-5.
4.  Nasir K, Khan KA, Kadri WM, Salim S, Tufail K, Sheikh HZ, Ali SA. Hepatitis B vaccination among health care workers and students of a medical college. J Pak Med Assoc 2000; 50: 239-43.
5.  2016-17 Immunization Requirements [Online] 2017 [Cited 11 May 2017]. Available from URL: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/ sites/extension.harvard.edu/files/atoms/files/ext_imm_0.pdf.
6.  Student Health Policy [Online] 2017 [Cited 11 May 2017]. Available from URL:  https://www.aku.edu/admissions/Documents/student-health-services.pdf.
7.  Vaccinations for Medical School. [Online] 2017 [Cited 7 May 2017]. Available from URL: http://www.medschoolsonline.co.uk/ vaccinations/.
8.  World Hepatitis Day: 900 people avail free screening, vaccination facilities at SIUT - The Express Tribune [Online]. The Express Tribune. 2016 [cited 7 May 2017]. Available from: URL: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1151327/world-hepatitis-day-900-people-avail-free-screening-vaccination-facilities-siut/.
9.  Paula SI, Paula GI, Cunegundes KS, Moraes-Pinto MI. Adherence to influenza vaccination among medical students during and after influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo 2016; 58: 82.
10. Oyo?Ita A, Nwachukwu CE, Oringanje C, Meremikwu MM. Cochrane Review: Interventions for improving coverage of child immunization in low?and middle?income countries. Evid Based Child Health 2012; 7: 959-1012.


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