A NEW investigation has concluded that more than a third of hospitals are failing to abide by basic health and sanitation standards. The report’s starkest finding was that only 40 per cent of hospitals had suitable toilets
The survey, conducted by the Programa Nacional de Controlo de Infecção (PNCI), National Programme of Infection Control, has prompted the government to promote a campaign educating medical staff about the importance of hygiene in curbing hospital infections.
Investigators from the PNCI checked conditions at 53 hospitals and found that staff in more than a third failed to observe commonplace sanitation measures such as washing hands. Ana Cristina Costa, operational coordinator of the PNCI, underlines that 20 to 30 per cent of hospital infections can be prevented by simple procedures such as proper hand disinfection.
The report highlighted sanitary deficiencies, particularly in areas housing external consultations and emergency services. Facilities in operating theatres and intensive care units were found to be of a higher standard but another alarming statistic was that only 77 per cent of hospitals used proper disinfectants and, of these, only 58 per cent were aware of their importance.
A dispatch from the director general for health sets out appropriate conditions for the control of infections but the report established that only 36 per cent of hospitals instigated the guidelines. Health Minister, Correia de Campos has now written to the Order of Doctors, Nurses and Chemists requesting that health and hygiene issues be addressed more urgently.