Anantnag hospitals lack advanced infection control systems, patients at risk

Doctors attribute the rise in infections like bronchitis, pneumonia, sepsis, gangrene and the deadly hepatitis to the absence of proper sterilization methods.

KHALID GUL
Anantnag, Publish Date: Mar 21 2018 1:09AM | Updated Date: Mar 21 2018 1:09AM
Anantnag hospitals lack advanced infection control systems, patients at riskGK Photo

Major hospitals in Anantnag catering to health needs of thousands of people across south Kashmir districts lack advanced infection control systems, putting the patients at the risk of catching life-threatening infections.

The 180-bedded District Hospital Anantnag and maternity and child-care hospitals function without the Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD) – an integrated place that performs sterilization and other actions on medical devices for subsequent use in the hospital.

A senior doctor posted at the district hospital attributed the longer stays of patients to the lack of these infection control systems. “At times, it can lead to serious complications and even death of a patient,” he said.

He said even vital departments in the hospitals like casualty and Operation theatres, dressing rooms are functioning without sterilization units.

Doctors attribute the rise in infections like bronchitis, pneumonia, sepsis, gangrene and the deadly hepatitis to the absence of proper sterilization methods.

Comprising four districts – Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, the southern Kashmir contributes more than 30 percent of the 72 lakh population of Kashmir valley.

Owing to under-developed health sector in rest of the three districts, people largely visit Anantnag hospitals for treatment, thus increasing the chances of cross infection among patients owing to excessive use of the medical equipments.

A medico said that mere boiling of equipments can’t ensure prevention from infections. “Though there are autoclave machines in place in the operation theatres of district hospital but they are defunct due to non-availability of the manpower to run them,” he said.

He said that a nursing orderly has to manage the theatre and also to take care of the sterilization of equipments. “The dressing of wounds should usually take place in the dressing sections but the process is being randomly carried out in the wards in open, thus increasing the chances of infection,” said the doctor.

“In such circumstances, spreading of deadly HIV, HCV during surgical, dental and dressing procedures remains a high possibility.”

Many places in southern Kashmir like Kokernag, Shopian and Bijbehara have seen spike in the number of hepatitis-C cases.

From Kokernag alone, around 3000 cases have been reported since during past five years. “This is where the danger lies. Nobody in the government is paying attention towards this humongous problem,” said an official in the administration wing of the district hospital Anantnag.

He said the chances of infection spreading in Maternity and Children Hospital in absence of effective infection control measures were more.

“The dental section is crammed in a single room with four chairs placed inside. In absence of proper infrastructure, the chances of cross infection are more,” said another official.

However, chief medical officer Anantnag Dr Fazil Ali Kochak said that both the hospitals have a well placed sterilization mechanism.

“The district hospitals can’t have full- fledged CSSD. This is in place only in tertiary-care hospitals,” said Dr Kochak.