Thursday, August 21, 2014

DOH, 3M Push for International Sterilization Standards in Local Hospitals

Wazzup Pilipinas!

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hundreds of patients around the world are affected by healthcare-associated infections that greatly affect patients’ health. In the Philippines alone, over 500,000 patients get Surgical Site Infections (SSI) each year due to poor sanitation standards in hospitals. About 10% die due to these infections.

The most common infections include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas bacteria. Surgery patients often get infected through various forms of contact, such as contaminated surgical instruments, or physical contact with a contaminated caregiver that transfers microorganisms to the surgical wound site. Microorganisms in the air, and those already in the patient’s body can also reach the wound and seriously infect the patient.

To address and prevent post-operative infections the Department of Health released Guidelines On Cleaning, Disinfection and Sterilization of Reusable Medical Devices In Hospital Facilities in the Philippines. The guidelines aim to improve patient care in health facilities with the efficient use of limited government resources without compromising the quality of care. The issued guidelines also hoped to provide the best practices in reprocessing of reusable medical devices in the central sterile supply department of hospitals.

According to the DOH, patients who undergo surgery have about 1 to 3 percent chance of developing SSI infections, post-op, in parts of the body where surgery has taken place. The skin is a natural protective barrier against infection, but a break in the skin due to surgery makes that area very vulnerable to germs and microorganisms in the environment.

“Every day, thousands of medical procedures in the Philippines are done to treat and diagnose patients of their illnesses. Filipinos walk through different healthcare facilities in the hope of getting the highest quality of medical or surgical intervention to cure them of their ailments. They rely on the trust that they give to their doctors as well as the prevailing scientific practices to provide them the best treatment outcomes.

But how many of them really know that what they are receiving is appropriate and standard?” asks Irene Ebarle, National Clinical Consultant of 3M Infection Prevention Division.

“In the simple use of medical equipment like the surgical set used to suture lacerated wounds or excise small lumps, how many are cleaned, disinfected and sterilized properly and adequately? For sure, the unassuming patient would always presume that what is used for his treatment is meticulously sterilized and surgically prepared, lest he gets infected and his condition gets worse. Local hospitals and clinics use uneven standards of sterilization. None of them have presented a comprehensive and internationally-accepted set of guidelines for best sterilization practices,” she noted.

The DOH guidelines follow sterilization standards that comply with American National Standards and International Standards relating to safe reprocessing of reusable medical instruments and supplies. The guidelines remind health care professionals about proper procedures and measures to ensure proper cleaning, sterilizing and packaging of critical medical devices to safeguard the health of surgical patients, among other things.

3M Health Care supported DOH in its efforts to upgrade sanitation and disinfection standards by partnering with the Department in 2012 to train healthcare professionals in health safety. 3M introduced ways by which sterilization risk can be managed to improve patient-condition outcomes, one of which is through its product the Steri-VAC 8XL Sterilizer. This largest-capacity ethylene oxide (EO) sterilizer that is both eco-friendly and cost-effective, ensures that all instruments used by Filipino healthcare professionals are thoroughly sterilized before they are used on patients.

3M Health Care in the Philippines aims to create solutions that cater to the needs of the Filipino patients and promote the creation of better cost-effective care around the world. With fifty years of innovation in the Philippines, 3M leads in providing pioneering efficient and effective products that improve healthcare facilities worldwide.

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