Health expert blames spike in patient-to-doctor COVID-19 infections on weak IPC measures
A Jos-based virologist, Dr Solomon Chollom, has attributed the spike in COVID-19 nosocomial infections in the country to weak Infection Preventive Control (IPC) measures.
Chollom told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that COVID-19 infections had assumed a nosocomial dimension in some states, with health workers and hospitalised patients involved.
A nosocomial infection refers to as hospital-acquired infection which occurs when infectious diseases get spread within a hospital community either from one patient to another, from one patient to a health worker or vice versa.
Chollom said that nosocomial infections thrived well in health facilities with poor culture of IPC.
He said that the culture of IPC included availability and proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and restriction and demarcation of movements and spaces according to their potential for hazard.
Chollom listed effective risk communication, use of containment equipment and proper waste disposal system as ways out.
“It will be recalled that the Nigeria Centre for Disease (NCDC), Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, recently revealed that over 800 health workers in Nigeria had been infected with the virus.
“These infections occurred in the line of duty – in hospitals.
“The spike in nosocomial COVID-19 infections across the country alludes to the fact that our culture on IPC is very appalling or inexistent.
“The complete absence of PPEs in some health facilities is a concern. The selective use of the few available PPEs in some facilities to only ‘suspected’ COVID-19 patients is very embarrassing and highly unprofessional,” he said.
He alleged that there were reports recycling of disposable PPEs in some facilities.
“While some facilities have had to shut down abruptly due to whole scale infection of their staff members, others are living in denial; thus, irrigating a fertile breeding ground for the pandemic,” he said.
Chollom called on the federal and state governments to ensure that both private and public health care facilities would meet the minimum standards.
“Heads of medical facilities who deliberately starve their frontliners of PPEs or fail to implement IPC in their facilities should be made to pay heavily in insurance and compensation to any infected health worker,” he advised. (NAN)