Hospital-acquired bacterial infections on the rise

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

All healthcare establishments should follow basic precautions and practice hand hygiene

New Delhi, 04 August 2018: As per a recent Australian study, some hospital superbugs are growing increasingly tolerant to alcohol-based disinfectants found in hand washes and sanitizers, allowing increasing infections to take hold. There has been a rise in a kind of bacteria that lives in the gut, called Enterococcus faecium which can spread via catheters, ventilators or central lines in a health care setting.Drug-resistant E. faecium infections currently represent a leading cause of infections acquired in hospitals.

Enterococci account for about 1 in 10 cases of hospital-acquired bacterial infections around the world. Research suggests that there may be something about the physiology of E. faecium that makes it easier for the bacteria to evolve tolerance to alcohol exposure.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “A hospital-acquired infection (HAI), or nosocomial infection is an infection, which usually occurs 48 hours after admission. It is not related to the original condition and is neither present nor incubating at the time of admission. HAIs are also sometimes called health care–associated infections (HCAIs) to include both hospital and non-hospital settings. HCAIs occur during the process of care in a hospital or other health care facility. They can occur in any type of setting where patients receive care, even after discharge. The most common nosocomial infections include surgical wound infections, respiratory infections, genitourinary infections and gastrointestinal infections.”

Prolonged and inappropriate use of invasive devices and antibiotics, immunosuppression and other severe underlying patient conditions, failure to adhere to standard and isolation precautions are some factors that increase the risk of infection in health-care settings. Another source of pathogens is hospital waste.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-chief of IJCP, said, “Every patient must be informed about the risk of developing infection during hospital stay. Not doing so may be a ground for malpractice claim since it is unrelated to the patient’s condition which brought him/her to the hospital. Educating them on how to reduce the risk of transmission will also enhance their participation in infection control practices. Every patient and/or relatives need to know that every admission may have up to 10% risk of acquiring a new infection.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Practice hand hygiene.
  • Use personal protective equipment appropriately according to risk of body fluid exposure.
  • Reprocess re-useable instruments and equipment as appropriate.
  • Handle and dispose sharp and potentially infectious material safely.
  • Handle waste and linen with care.
  • Put environmental control measures including cleaning and spills management in place.
  • Make it compulsory to wear disposable gowns, gloves, and eye protection on entry to the patient’s room.

Current scenario of health care resources in India

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  1. Total number of registered Allopathic doctors is 1,041,395 (up to 2017)
  2. Assuming 80% availability, an estimated 8.33 lakh doctors may be actually available for active service.
  3. Doctor-population ratio 1:1596 as against 1:1000 as prescribed by the WHO.
  4. Patient-bed ratio: 0.9 beds per 1,000 population
  5. Govt spending for health care: Rs 1,112 per capita, which means only Rs 3 per day is spent per day for the healthcare of an average Indian
  6. Health Sector spending 1.16% of the GDP (proposed to increase to 2.5% of the GDP in National Health Policy 2017)
  7. Govt. contribution to health insurance 32% (vs 83.5% in UK)
  8. Density of doctors at national level 79.7 per lakh population, of nurses and midwives 61.3 per lakh, and of dentists just 2.4 per lakh. Of all doctors, 77.2% were allopathic and 22.8% were Ayurvedic, Homeopathic or Unani.
  9. More than 60% of the registered doctors are concentrated in urban areas
  10. There are 476 medical colleges, 313 Colleges for BDS courses and 249 colleges which conduct MDS courses.
  11. There are 23,582 government hospitals having 710,761 beds in the country. 19,810 hospitals are in rural area with 279,588 beds and 3,772 hospitals are in urban area with 431,173 beds.
  12. 70% of population of India lives in rural area and to cater their need there are 156,231 Sub Centres, 25,650 Primary Health Centres and 5,624 Community Health Centres in India as on 31st March 2017.
  13. Total no. of licensed Blood Banks is 2903 (2017).

(Source: National Health Profile 2018)

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

Vice President CMAAO

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA