Use of Hub Cutters and the Volume of Sharp Waste and Occurrence of Needle-Stick Injuries during 2011 Mass Immunization Campaigns against Yellow Fever in Ghana: A Cohort Study

E Agbenu, Y Chartier, J Eleeza, KO Antwi-Agyei, S Diamenu, O Ronveaux, W Perea


Background: Current WHO best infection control practices for injections do not address the use of hub cutters due to insufficient evidence on safety and efficacy.

Objective: To assess the impact of the use of hub cutters on 1) the frequency of needle-stick injuries (NSIs) and other blood exposures among workers and 2) the volume of sharps waste in a mass vaccination campaign setting.

Methods: During yellow fever vaccination in Ghana, we conducted a cohort study on the use of hub cutters. We compared two groups—one group using hub cutters and a control group—for the occurrences of NSIs and the volume of sharp waste produced.

Results: In the control arm, vaccinators used 284 482 syringes in 825 vaccination sessions. In the group using hub cutter, vaccinators used 397 079 syringes in 1599 sessions. Among vaccinators, the rate of NSI was not significantly (p=0.14) different between the hub cutter users (0.15/10 000 syringes) and the control group (0.04/10 000). Factors such as workload, lack of organization and pressure seemed to have influence the occurrence of NSIs. With all the limitations of the work, the volume of sharp waste per 10 000 syringes was 0.24 m3 in the hub cutter users and 0.41 m3 in the control group—a reduction of 41.2%. Vaccinators found hub cutters easy to use and safe. Use of hub cutter was not associated with increased duration of work.

Conclusion: The use of hub cutters did not increase the risk of NSIs. More training is needed to facilitate its implementation in mass campaign setting.


Safety; Injections; Medical waste disposal; Vaccination; Hub cutters; Infection control; Needle-stick injuries; Yellow fever vaccination

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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