PESHAWAR: The World Health Organisation has shown concerns over lack of infection prevention and control measures in hospitals and is urging the health department to disinfect the healthcare facilities continuously to stem the tide of Covid-19 pandemic and other epidemics.
“The world health agency has imparted training on infection prevention and control to about 15,000 health workers in hospitals across the province during the ongoing pandemic but the hospitals are not carrying out the exercise which may complicate the situation,” senior health officials told this scribe.
Besides province-wide training in IPC, the WHO has designated two hospitals — Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar and Said Group of Hospitals Swat — to ensure disinfection measures and avoid recurrence of the infection.
The staffers, who have received training on IPC, should act as master trainers and pass the skills and techniques to others so it can be made a regular feature of the healthcare programme in the province. “In the long run, IPC plays significant role in prevention of epidemics,” they said.
The world health agency is concerned over lack of infection control measures in hospitals
Officials said that two hospitals were selected in each province of the country to promote IPC and put brakes on the epidemics. They said that four staffers each from the two hospitals were trained by the WHO as part of its programme to make the IPC a regular exercise in hospitals.
The IPC is meant to scale up the capacity of the health professionals on how to use personal protective equipment (PPEs) and discard them after usage, use of incinerators in epidemics and disinfect the area housing the infected patients.
The measures also include washing hands and adherence to social distancing rule by the health workers involved in management of patients to keep themselves and other safe from the infection.
The officials said that an infection control committee already constituted by the health department was in hibernation. After discharging every patient or death of the infected ones, the hospitals needed to carry out disinfection of the respective areas to ensure safety of the staff and other patients, they added.
“However, the healthcare facilities continue to ignore importance of IPC which is likely to pose obstacle in the way of doing away with epidemics,” they said.
They said that recently, a WHO team visited Dera Ismail Khan where the health professionals had a lot of chlorine in powder form but they didn’t know how to chlorinate the wards.
The officials said that WHO had trained staff in each and every hospital through which simple methods were required to clean the areas, The hospitals instead bought Dettol from the market, which was costly than chlorination, they added.
The officials said that IPC was important not only for Covid-19, but also for prevention of other epidemics like dengue haemorrhagic fever and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF). There were recently two cases of CCHF in Peshawar and dengue fever has regularly been occurring in the province, especially in Peshawar.
They said that implementation of IPC module prepared by the WHO was the easy way to prevent infections.
“For the last one week, the province has been recording less than 50 cases per day but on Tuesday, the case surged to 178. It shows that the pandemic is not over yet. Decrease in cases has no scientific proof that Covid-19 is vanishing, therefore, the importance of IPC can’t be ignored,” said the officials.
They said that emphasis should be on IPC because there was one death from August 23 to August 31 but five deaths were recorded on September 1. They said that health department was asking the tertiary care, district headquarters and tehsil headquarters hospitals to enforce infection prevention and control measures once in a month to stop spread of infections.
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2020