|Health workers pleadge to use antibiotics responsibly. Hospital infection control activities have helped reduce inappropriate antibiotic use, which has improved quality of health care and reduced the need for medical treatment. — Photo tintucvietnam.com.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Hospital infection control activities have helped reduce inappropriate antibiotic use, which has improved quality of health care and reduced the need for medical treatment, according to Assoc. Prof Le Thi Anh Thu, president of HCM City Infection Control Society.
Speaking at a conference held in HCM City last week, Thu said that antibiotic overuse by doctors had occurred because of the lack of infection control in the environment, instrument reprocessing and patient care.
Applying best practices in infection control encourages doctor not to use antibiotics unnecessarily, including the use of antibiotics in cleaning wounds, Thu said.
Ha Kim Phuong, specialist at the Ministry of Health's Medical Examination and Treatment Department, said that the circular on hospital infection prevention and control in health facilities was issued five years ago.
As of last year, 13.3 per cent of hospitals in the country had not set up a faculty in charge of the issue. More than 41 per cent of the country's total hospitals have no sterilizing units, according to Phuong.
More than 92 per cent have also not conducted surveys on hospital-acquired infection since 2010. Ninety-three per cent have not monitored drug-resistant bacteria, either.
Dr Le Quoc Su, CEO of Hoan My Medical Corporation, said that hospital-acquired infection risks and infection-control programmes vary from hospital to hospital, depending on clinical services and activities, targeted patients, geographic location, and the number of patients and healthcare professionals.
For private hospitals, hospital infection-prevention and control must be considered a key competitive advantage because its targeted patients mostly are higher-income, have higher education, and are willing to pay more for better quality of care, according to Su.
Hospital-acquired infections have led to longer lengths of stays in hospitals and increased healthcare costs, leading to serious complications that could damage hospitals' reputation.
Moreover, with the promotion of service packages at private hospitals, if hospital-acquired infection unexpectedly happened, the profits would fall as a result of the increased input costs of service, he added.
Support of leaders and management was crucial since investment must be made in facilities and equipment, training and manpower, he said.
IT engineer Nguyen The Anh said that surveillance at hospitals was a routine activity for infection control. It includes data collection, entry, storage and lookup.
Feedback about surveillance results should be given soon to medical staff, infection control departments and hospital boards of directors so they can react quickly.
Surveillance, however, can be difficult because of the shortage of human resources, according to Anh. Time is needed for data entry and data processing and weaknesses include typing mistakes, reporting and lack of statistical knowledge.
These drawbacks can lead to too much workload for infection-control staff and to insufficient monitoring results.
However, IT applications would help solve these difficulties, he said. Infection control staff would use tablets instead of inputting data from paper to computer. Data would then be transferred directly from the tablet to the reporting system so that the infection control staff and the hospital boards of directors can immediately see the results on system monitoring reports. — VNS