Microbiologist identifies causes of increasing infection in health institutions

Lagos-State-University-Teaching-Hospital(LASUTH)A Consultant Microbiologist, Dr Bamidele Mutiu, on Friday identified causes for increasing rate of infections in public health institutions in the country.

Mutiu, who is the Head, Medical Microbiology, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He spoke on the sidelines of a workshop organised by an NGO, Society for Quality in Healthcare in Nigeria (SQHN), with the theme: “Prevention and Control of Infection’’.
According to him, the rate of infection, which is 12 to 22 per cent, is very high compared to the World Health Organisation’s standard which states that it must be below five per cent.

The causes of this high rate include inadequate funding, training, infrastructure and resources such as gloves and other materials.Most of the hospitals are not built for purpose; most of the time we just build and convert into hospitals.

If they have been built for purpose, for instance, the hand washing stations will not be so far apart; it is supposed to be at specific intervals to encourage hand washing,” he said.
Mutiu said that government should educate and enlighten the public and also ensure that hospitals were built for purpose to prevent and control infections.

Also, Dr Sule Abayomi, acting Secretary of the organisation, said that about 98 per cent of healthcare institutions were not complying with the best practices in infection prevention and control.

He said that the institutions probably did not have institutionalised infection prevention and control activities.
Abayomi said: “This is why anytime there is an outbreak of communicable infections, you find out that typically, hospitals are penetrated, vulnerable and they also succumb.

Because the first line activities, which should be implemented on a routine basis in terms of infection control and prevention, have not been institutionalised across hospitals in Nigeria.”

He advised hospitals and clinics to have infection prevention and control policies and imbibe the best practices.Abayomi said that there should be a concerted effort to create the culture of awareness, vigilance and also doing the right thing.

There has to be a pervasive paradigm from the security man to the medical director that the spread of infections is something of high risk to the staff, patients or visitors to the patients.

It is incumbent to the hospitals not to only be a source of healing, we should also ensure that we do not become a source of harm to the patients, visitors or workers,” he said.

The secretary urged patients to disclose the nature of their symptoms whenever they visit the healthcare facility as a way of controlling the spread of infections.Abayomi said: “It is also incumbent of patients to hold the hospitals responsible to certain standards.

So, one of the basic standards of infection prevention and control is that if a doctor wants to see you, he should wash his hands.

It is also incumbent for the patients to begin to ask their doctors whether they put in place basic steps to prevent the spread of hospital acquired infections.”On her part, the Executive Manager of the society, Dr Olawunmi Oluborode, identified inadequate manpower as a major challenge in infection prevention and control in the health institutions.

We do not have enough infection control experts and then, most hospitals that are even practising infection control, they tend to use members of staff that already have assigned duties.It is important that somebody should be made responsible for that position,” she said. (NAN)

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