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From crisis to care : Impact of COVID 19 on Infection Control and HAI

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A group of experts discussed the significance of infection control, sanitation and Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI), which has gained momentum with the COVID 19. The first panel discussion of the Healthcare Transformation Summit deliberated on how the pandemic has reinstated the importance of good hygiene practices.

The panelists who were present in the discussion were Dilip Patil, Co -Founder & Director, Trivector Group & Baby Quest Cryobank, Dr. Tamorish Kole, Chairman, Medeor Institute of Emergency Medicine, Medeor Hospitals, Dr. (Prof) Anant Kumar, Chairman – Uro-Oncology Robotics & Kidney Transplantation, Max Healthcare, Dr. Chandrika Kambam, Director – Clinical Services, Health Care Global Enterprises Limited.

Sharing his views Dilip Patil, Co -Founder & Director, Trivector Group & Baby Quest Cryobank, said, ” Globally the COVID-19 has reinstated the importance of hygiene, surface cleaning, and wearing masking. HAI is a bigger problem and we should think beyond COVID-19, there are different types of HAI, ventilator associated, bloodstream infection or urinary tract infection. We tend to disregard the airborne infection, it has to be taken care of there are different methods: air purifier, air handling system, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters but many don’t have the luxury to afford the same. We need to have sustainable, economical and usable solutions. In 2016 a solution which is cold plasma based. Plasma is the fourth state of matter (after solid, liquid and gas). If the infected air is subjected to a destructive high energy plasma field created by dielectric barrier discharge in a contained space, the microorganisms which come in contact with this field get destroyed to DNA level within millisecond. Thus, the bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, odors and VOCs get eliminated and only the disinfected air which is safe to be consumed by human beings comes out of the device without any direct or indirect side-effects.”

He gave a presentation on Novaerus innovative low-energy plasma technology and how devices are non-discriminating green technology is proven to eliminate different viruses, bacteria, fungus, VOCs and particulates in a fraction of seconds.

Talking about the relation between HAI and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) he said, “We need a multi-disciplinary approach when it comes to AMR. The government has also initiated to regulate them.”

Dr. Tamorish Kole, Chairman, Medeor Institute of Emergency Medicine, Medeor Hospitals said, “Infection control which was seen as an issue of only the healthcare providers or hospitals, but now the scenario has changed with the pandemic. Lot of technological solutions are emerging that have initiated a new norm.”

Emphasizing that hospitals should have Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) usage policy and they should follow it, Kole said, ” Many hospitals do not follow or they do not implement it. Usage of antibiotics should be restricted and the doctors should give an explanation why it is used. It should be used very cautiously particularly the restricted ones and in many hospitals clinicians take decision on their own, which is not appropriate consultation and the team of specialists between incentive microbial and infection control specialists is necessary.”

Dr. Chandrika Kambam, Director – Clinical Services, Health Care Global Enterprises Limited, said, “HAI has always been a topic of importance. The pandemic has brought this back into focus and attention. Hand hygiene compliance has gone upto 20 to 25 percent in the last four months, whereas normally the hospital struggles to get compliance on the same. Globally so many studies have indicated that hand hygiene alone can control so many infections. Also the mass communication on infection control is a big impact and laid a foundation for good practices that will make a tremendous change in HAI. Globally data mention that about 99,000 people die in the US due to HAI similar numbers in Europe and UK. Such data is missing in our country if such data collated it will help us understand the burden of the disease.”

Touching upon the AMR issue Kambam said the usage of antibiotics is rampant in the country be it in OPD or IPD services. “Take antibiotics only if it is necessary, it is very important to follow AMR policy and deescalate the antibiotics after we get the culture report so that we don’t use high end antibiotics. It can be used only if it is necessary so it can help overcome HAI also community spread of resistant organisms.

Dr. (Prof) Anant Kumar,Chairman – Uro-Oncology Robotics & Kidney Transplantation,Max Healthcare, said, “We use to enforce about hand hygiene it was not taken seriously but now with this virus patients learnt the importance of it and this as brought in a drastic drop in the wound infection rate. The infection rate is also dropped in ICUs, wards and operation theatres. Overall hygiene standard is improving.”

Informing that at least four to five patients visit the hospital who are resistant to antibiotics, Kumar said,” We cannot operate a person who doesn’t react to any antibiotic. The government should bring in strict policy. Pharma companies should not give medicine without proper prescription. We are heading towards a disaster that needs to be addressed.”

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