Nearly half the injections administered in developing countries involve unsterilized needles and syringes, which kill some 1.3 million people annually, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday.
"Six billion injections are given globally with syringes or needles that are reused without sterilization," WHO said in a statement.
"This represents 40 percent of all injections given in developing countries; in some countries, the proportion is as high as 70 percent of injections," it said.
"The use of syringes with features that prevent re-use and needle stick injuries would avert about 1.3 million global deaths per year by preventing infections and the epidemics caused by their spread," WHO said.
Since 1999, WHO has been calling member nations to use needles with safety features. However, these cost 15 cents against three cents for ordinary needles which are widely used in poorer countries.