Thursday, June 28, 2012

The dirty hospitals !

Not just patients, attendants too are facing a great risk.

By; Salman Nizami

The health of hospitalized Kashmiris and their visitors is being seriously put at risk by government hospitals. Inadequate infection control measures in hospitals and declining levels of cleanliness are believed to be behind the rise of deaths due to infection. Increased reporting of cases has also contributed. I recently visited some known hospitals in Srinagar. What I found in the hospitals surprisingly inadequate cleaning regimens that could make you sick. I talked to the cleaners, supervisors, nurses, doctors, and hospital administrators to get a handle on what has become a major problem at the health-care facilities in the Valley a shocking number of hospitals acquired infections. My practical survey - which examined in-patients views of the treatment and care they received - was conducted last week in three hospitals. It found that more than 30 per cent rated their care as satisfactory and almost 70 per cent said they were not treated with dignity and respect. However, just 20% said their ward was clean. More than 80 % described the wards and toilets dirty. Patients also complained that they were given too little information about their condition, the side effects of medication or the danger signs to look out for once they got home. Too little help was given to those needing assistance to eat.  About 5 to10 lakh Kashmiris come down with life-threatening infections while in hospitals every year. As many as 2,000 people a year die, the recent deaths of children admitted in GB Pant hospital is a fresh example, due to the presence of hospital waste in the ward several children’s have been died. Nazima Begum’s son Yawar Ahmed of Khanayar Srinagar became one of those statistics this year. He was admitted to G.B.Pant Hospital for treatment. While there, the 6-year-old become the victim of dirt. It ended up playing a role in his death few days later. Nazima remembers the cleaning regimen in her son’s room was less than adequate, saying the cleaners would spend only 10 minutes on a room every day and the dust bin was always ful with waste materials which includes needles, snakes, bottles, food and used water. She says a proper cleaning would have taken much longer. "This has to stop," she says. "This is Kashmir. Which is known for its natural beauty?" Time and again, hospital insiders told me that cleaners were being asked to do more with less. "We used to have one person to one ward of a hospital to clean," one cleaner said. "Now, we have three floors to clean." A cleaning supervisor at the same hospital told that it's "common practice" for cleaners not to change the cleaning solution in the bucket when mopping up. "They just don't have the time," the supervisor said.  Sometimes there aren't enough cleaning supplies. A nurse, whose identity was asked to protect, said she's seen a cleaner mopping common areas after having mopped the rooms of infected patients because she didn't have enough mops to change. "She's just cross-contaminated the whole area, so there's no area that was actually clean." Sometimes, only one cleaner would be on staff in an entire hospital during night shifts. That kind of day-night difference is very common, and it makes no sense she added. I have seen enough in this hospital tour looking at the cleaning practices and found that that some hospitals are worse than others, much worse. "Some hospitals are a real freaking disaster.
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