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The medical care industry in India has grown multifold and upgraded its facilities by providing a clean environment or even a five star hospital experience to its patients. But to what level have hospitals upgraded their cleaning programme is a subject to be revisited.

Disinfection of the patient environment is a key component of the infection prevention and control process in a hospital. One of the most critical interventions that can be performed to decrease the risk for cross-transmission and the development of hospital acquired infection (HAI) is routine cleaning and sanitizing of the medical care environment. This includes both medical equipment and environmental surfaces.

In order to gain cleaning efficiencies, one needs to be strong enough to justify its labour resources and have the tools to forecast staffing, chemical and equipment needs. Medical care facilities

a) need to protect their patients, families and staff

b) need both conventional and sustainable programmes and products to aid in reducing infection rates and cost within their facilities

The Indian cleaning market now consists of a wide range of products both domestic as well international, making selection of the right product a challenge. One needs to assess the level of cleaning, disinfecting, sanitation and sterilisation required in the facility. There are a few simple steps to identify the right product.

Threat and Objectives

• Gain cleaning efficiencies

• Mitigate HAI risk

• Reduce overall maintenance costs

Common surface disinfectants

Synthetic phenols kill a wide range of organisms and are widely used in operating rooms. They are excellent products for destroying the tuberculosis organism and do not lose their effectiveness in a soiled environment. They are corrosive and should never be used around newborns.

Quats are the most widely used disinfectants in market today. Due to their versatility and cost effectiveness, they kill a wide range of microorganisms including Staph, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas. Quats are less corrosive and are used in schools, institutions, supermarkets and hospital settings.

Hypochlorite/Bleach is corrosive and should be restricted in use. It should not be used in general building operations because of the potential of interacting with other chemicals, which can result in a toxic gas. Although it can be used as a disinfectant or sanitizer, it is not an effective cleaner. Never mix bleach with another chemical.

Hydrogen Peroxide is more user-friendly ingredient versus bleach and will perform similar tasks. Peroxide products demonstrate versatility in cleaning glass, hard surfaces, carpets and restrooms. These are the most sustainable of the disinfectant products.

Iodine is a powerful disinfectant that, when used in the form of iodophors, will kill a wider range of pathogens than quats and phenolics. As a primary use disinfectant it is not desirable due to its staining properties. Because of iodine’s acidic qualities, its use is restricted to specialized areas, such as surgical settings.

Alcohol provides an efficient means of killing pathogens. Typically, ethyl or isopropyl alcohol is used for smaller area surface disinfection. These products are usually packaged in sealed aerosols or smaller-use containers, since alcohol can pose a fire hazard.

Sanitizers are used to reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, microorganisms from the inanimate environment to levels considered safe as determined by public health codes or regulations. Sanitizers are normally used in food service, food preparation, food processing areas and hand care products.

The entire range of these products are available now in the Indian market.

It is important to understand these chemicals not only for their efficacy, use and application but also in terms of their environmental effect. These products are mostly used in closed small areas and thus, the level of VOC needs to be referred to as acknowledged by the EPA. High level of VOC also has an adverse effect, as it promotes multiplication of certain bacteria.

Hence, there is an urgency for the medical care segment to create a standard of cleanliness which is the best line of defence against HAIs. The need for right products for cleaning, disinfection and sanitation has never been so grave before. The time is ripe for facilities to adopt cleaning practices in the best interest of patients, healthcare professionals, and society in general.

Hiren Modi
Director-Klinox Marketing, Surat


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