Even in the absence of an infection control monitoring body,the city hospitals,about 10-12,have shown the way by setting up infection control committees. The fact that the risk of hospital-associated infections is nearly 5-20 per cent among hospitalised patients makes the need for a monitoring body all the more crucial.
Says Dr Nita Munshi,head of the Department of Pathology at Ruby Hall Clinic and organising secretary of the X National Conference on Infection Control that is being conducted for the first time in the city from January 22 at Bal Gandharva,Hospital bugs are a cause of concern. There is an ongoing surveillance programme. While big hospitals do take precautionary measures there is a need for some regulatory authority to monitor the hospital infections at smaller nursing homes.
Munshi and other doctors,under the aegis of the Hospital Infection Society Forum of Pune,have involved as many as 12 hospitals to set up their own infection control committees. According to Munshi,the protocol and guidelines are shared by each hospital. While it difficult to keep a record of the number of needle stick injuries or ventilator assisted pneumonia,precautionary measures have definitely brought down the level of infections.
A cause of concern is,however,the increased incidence of tuberculosis among health care workers and the definite rise in gram negative organisms specials (ESBL) and multi drug resistant organisms. These are difficult to treat,says Munshi. In fact,MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus),the drug-resistant bacteria known as MRSA (which was prominently found in the West) is present here too,constitutes some of the most worrying microbes around.
MRSA infections occur where there is an opportunity for the bug to get into the body such as surgical wounds or where a catheter or needle is inserted,says Dr Pallavi Bhargava,in charge of the hospital infection control committee at Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital. She pointed out that post operative infection rates were low in the last three years,specially,as infection control nurses have been specifically appointed. There should,at least,be one infection control nurse for 250 beds,says Bhargava. However,more should be done to combat these bugs. For example,ward cleaning and personal hygiene should be given priority, Bhargava says.
The conference is vital as it discusses a variety of issues like rational use of antibiotics and legal issues related to infection control, says Dr Vikram Padbidri,secretary of the Hospital Infection Control Committee at Jehangir Hospital.