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Public hospitals must not become places of spreading diseases

17 November 2022

An academic study conducted by icddr'b on 11 tertiary-level hospitals revealed that hospital-acquired infections show up in a patient after being admitted to a facility due to poor infection control. According to the DGHS, such infections include urinary tract infections, pneumonia, diarrhoea, infections following surgery or invasive medical procedures, and infections in new mothers and newborns.
Doctors often find hospital-acquired infections turning fatal, as some patients survive the initial illnesses they were admitted with but die later due to an infectious disease. These infections are usually resistant to multiple antibiotics. The antibiotics they are resistant to will depend on what the hospital usually prescribes. These infections lengthen a patient's hospital stay and increase mortality rate.
Nine hospitals did not conduct any surveillance to see if surgical site infections crop up following an operation, or if infections are transmitted through medical equipment. In addition, six of them did not conduct any surveillance in their ICUs, or among infants, while the surveillance for tuberculosis and flu was also ignored. It found that all 11 hospitals, except one, could only be ranked as "basic" or lower, on the World Health Organisation's infection prevention and control assessment scale. This means infection prevention and control are not sufficiently implemented in those hospitals and further improvement is required. Overcrowding, lack of beds, inadequate manpower, insufficient toilets, and non-existent wastewater treatment systems -- all contribute to the crisis. Wastewater has been proven time and again to be a carrier of pathogens.
Only about a quarter of the hospitals assess the number of staffers needed to manage patient loads, while 45 per cent did not maintain the government-proposed healthcare worker-patient ratio. Only six of the hospitals could maintain one patient per bed, found the study. It is observed that large hospitals cram multiple patients to a single bed or make bedding on the floor. The resilience of healthcare facilities in containing and treating diseases without propagating infectious threats will depend on enhancing infection prevention and control practices.

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