At the one-day Conference on Hospital Infection Control, microbiologists, infection control officers and other experts engaged in lively, fruitful discussions about how to make hospital infection control a practice that is followed universally, and how to arrest the epidemic of antibiotic resistance. Here are a few choice remarks from the conference, and strategies suggested by experts to curtail India’s hospital-acquired infection rates:
Hospital infection is one of the most important topic for any hospital in this country to deal with. And why not? It’s a spine of a hospital operations. During his keynote address at Conference on Hospital Infection Control, Dr Hiren Ambegaokar, CEO, S.L. Raheja (A Fortis Associate) Hospital requested officials and doctors from various hospitals not to look at infection control practices as an additional cost burden. He explained how following the infection control protocols in the hospitals could save a lot of money on unnecessary antibiotics and would prevent secondary hospital infection, which will be helpful in the wake of epidemics.
Prof Dr Abhay Chowdhary, Professor and Head of Microbiology, DY Patil University School of Medicine, Hospital and Research Center was at his usual best while addressing the august gathering. He made some critical observations on hospital infection control. According to him, hospital infection is everyone’s baby, however, not many are taking care of it. Infections are preventable by implementing good infection control practices. However, lack of awareness and negligence at all levels results in budgetary constraints. Besides, contracting out cleaning services to untrained, unskilled labour who use obsolete and ineffective molecules have resulted in an overall deterioration in hospital hygiene practices.
Before the beginning of the panel discussion on Evaluation of Infection Control Issues in APAC, Dr Chowdhary set the tone of the session by recommending infection control programs in health care setups,, infection control committees to be set up in all health care institutions, and emphasised on the need for infection control teams, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and immunization and vaccination of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Taking the discussion to the next level, Dr Prashant Nasa, HOD Critical Care Medicine, Chairman Prevention and Infection Control, Antimicrobial Stewardship, NMC Specialty Hospital, Dubai mentioned about the synchronized approach of UAE in preventing infections in the hospitals. “UAE receives around 90 million travellers per year. So the chances of epidemics spreading are immense. However, we have managed to prevent epidemic-like situations because of the synchronization of hospital data, which is lacking in India.”
During the panel discussion, Dr Parag Rindani, Associate Vice President, Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd, complained about indulging in obsolete practices like fumigation in the Indian hospitals. This shows we put all our money where we are not supposed to, but we don’t put our money where we are expected to, he said. His critical observation on the validation of data and funds utilization by hospitals garnered applause from the audience. He also lauded the government’s effort of creating a national accreditation and standardization process for infection control. Dr Rindani suggested that when it comes to infection control, it is very much important to first strategize on how to reduce the infection rates based on evidence-based medicine instead of following age-old practices.