Photo by of David Snyder.
Photo by of David Snyder.

When a nurse in Tanzania accidentally sticks herself with a needle, the pain shoots through the entire hospital: In a place where HIV and hepatitis are common, such accidents can spread disease.

A sick doctor or nurse can infect patients or become unable to work. In Tanzania, and other countries where health care workers are scarce, the loss of one doctor or nurse means that thousands of people won’t get the care they need. And the sudden emergence of an infectious disease, such as the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, can have devastating consequences for the health care system in a developing country where health care workers often face severe shortages of basic protective equipment and supplies.

The risk is real: In the developing world, it’s not unusual for a hospital worker to suffer four needle sticks a year.

AmeriCares safety programs are protecting health care workers from needle sticks and other accidents—an essential step in improving health care in the world’s poorest countries. Already, more than 1,500 hospital workers in India and Tanzania have adopted crucial safety practices, and AmeriCares will soon be expanding the program.

Health Worker Safety in Tanzania

In response to a request for help from the hospital staff at Bugando Medical Center in Mwanza, Tanzania, AmeriCares developed a comprehensive Health Worker Safety Initiative to help protect the hospital’s employees from infection and injury. Learn more about the successful program at Bugando.

Who can apply for a donation?

The Health Care Provider must be traveling outside of the U.S. on short term charitable medical trips to treat indigent patients and must agree to and comply with all of the terms of our online Agreement. The one exception is our Zimmer U.S. Charitable Surgery Program where surgeries for indigent patients are performed in the U.S.

Do I need a medical license to request products?

  • The Health Care Provider must have a valid U.S. license to practice and prescribe independently and without supervision in order to request prescription medicines and/or products requiring a specific level of training to use.
  • We can only donate to you those products that you are qualified to use in the U.S. For example, if you are not authorized in the U.S. to start an IV we are not able to donate IV sets to you even though they are "non-prescription."
  • If you do not have a license to prescribe without supervision and no one traveling with you does, you may request non-prescription products.

Health Worker Safety in India

In India, AmeriCares provides vaccinations, medical supplies, safety education and emergency preparedness training for doctors, nurses and health workers at hospitals and clinics. Learn more about our efforts to support health worker safety in India.

Training Modules

Through the Health Worker Safety Initiative, AmeriCares and Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) worked with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to develop a training curriculum for promoting workplace safety at BMC.  The eight-module training package and reference guide reflect best practices in occupational safety in healthcare settings, and can be adapted to a variety of clinical settings to improve health workers’ ability to protect themselves and their patients from hospital hazards and infection.  This training curriculum was implemented at BMC through the Health Worker Safety Initiative pilot, through which over 1,200 BMC health workers were trained by 40 peer trainers in best practices for occupational safety and infection prevention and control.

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 1: Infection Prevention and Control  (959 KB)
The importance of infection prevention and control, Causes of infections, Standard precautions against infections, Hand hygiene, Antiseptics and disinfectants, Personal protective equipment (PPE), Handling sharps

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 2: Post-Exposure Prophylaxis  (397 KB)
What is PEP?, Infectious body fluids, Types of exposures requiring PEP, PEP procedure, HIV Exposure, HBV Exposure, HCV Exposure, Toxicity and drug interactions

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 3: Health Care Waste Management  (176 KB)
What is health care waste?, Safer handling of hazardous waste, Waste segregation, Waste collection, Waste storage, Final waste disposal

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 4: Laboratory Safety  (216 KB)
Best practices for laboratory safety, Hazardous chemical/substance spills, Chemical storage, Standard lab safety equipment

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 5: Fire Prevention and Fire Safety  (298 KB)
Workplace fire hazards, Fire prevention measures, Fire emergencies and evacuation, Responding to fires

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 6: Electrical Safety  (370 KB)
Introduction, Key definitions, Causes of electric shock, Dangers of electric shock, Electrical burns, The Electrical Safety Model

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 7: Medical X-Ray Safety  (252 KB)
Introduction, Protection from X-ray Hazards, X-ray Safety for Health Workers, X-ray Safety for Patients

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 8: Safety in the Use of Chemicals  (235 KB)
How chemicals enter the human body, Effects of chemicals on the human body, Managing exposure to chemicals, Safe management of chemicals

 HWSI: A Guide for Workers in the Hospital Setting  (1.61 MB)
Bugando Medical Centre's Standard Hospital Guidelines for Health Workers’ Safety

On the Front Lines of Health Care

A hospital in the developing world can be a risky place to work. Many patients have infectious diseases such as HIV, tetanus and hepatitis B. Just one jab with a used needle can mean a lifetime of disease for a doctor, nurse or medical attendant. Since 2008, AmeriCares has been helping workers at Bugando Medical Center in Mwanza, Tanzania, make their jobs safer. Read stories of health care workers:

Donate to help us make more hospitals safer for health care workers and the patients who need them.