Daily Trust (Abuja)

12 May 2009

Nigeria: Hospital Infections Kill 200 Locals Daily

Dr Ajibike Oyewumi of the Lagoon Hospital has said that over 200 patients die daily in Nigeria as a result of infections contacted during treatment in hospitals.

The gynecologist made this known at the World Hand Hygiene Day, an initiative of the World Health Organization aimed at tackling the challenges posed by hospital acquired infections held in Lagos. He also noted that one of the major ways of getting infections was from the hands of health workers.

The campaign which was part of the five global safety challenges was tagged "Save Lives, clean your hands" and supported by over 4,500 health care facilities globally, including Lagoon Hospitals.

She said this prompted the WHO to initiate the campaign for hand hygiene, adding that over 1.4 million people worldwide are estimated to be suffering from infections acquired in hospitals.

As part of efforts to drive this campaign in Nigeria, Lagoon Hospitals have partnered with the World Health Organization to sensitize health institution in the country of the dangers of unclean hands in hospitals. Dr. Oyewumi who noted that death from clinical errors was the fifth leading cause of death, said the WHO message was central to the fact that clean hands save lives. These clinical errors include prescription, medication, surgery and analysis are some of the challenges in most health institutions. She highlighted the need for health workers to always use the two WHO recommend hand hygiene methods - handrub and handwash - among patients.

He also hinted that at this time of influenza spread, taking the simple steps of hand hygiene at the right time in the right place and the right way would contribute to reducing the level of health care-associated infections world-wide and thereby contribute to reducing the global burden of disease. "Every year, the treatment and care of hundreds of millions of patients worldwide is complicated by infections acquired during health care.

As a result, some patients become more seriously ill than they would otherwise have been. Some have prolonged stays in hospitals, some experience long-term disability and some die. As well as the human cost, health-care systems carry a massive additional financial burden", the General Manager, Quality Improvement, Lagoon Hospitals said.

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