Poor hygiene in Kabarole health facilities increase cases of hospital acquired infections

Hospital acquired infections continue to rise in Kabarole health facilities, a research by the District Health Department has revealed. According to the research, at least 15 cases of hospital acquired infections are reported every month.

The research shows that the infections are contracted from the environment, patients and staff due to poor hygiene in and around health facilities. The report adds that some health facilities do not have water and soap for washing hands while in others patients share wards.

The most common infections are urinary tract infection- UTIs and pneumonia. At Rwimi Health Centre III, Moses Baguma, a health worker, says that eight patients acquired infections at the facility last month. Baguma blames patients and their attendants for not adhering to proper hygiene conditions.

Faith Kobusinge, a nurse at Bukuku Health Centre IV, says that patients who contract other infections leads to their prolonged stay in the facilities, which puts a burden on the health facility due to limited space. However some residents argue that it’s the health facilities to blame for the infections.

Peter Mukonyezi, a resident of Rwimi town council says that due to inadequate sanitary facilities, patients suffering from different ailments are forced to share wards, washrooms and toilets, which aid the spread of such infections.

He cites his brother who contracted tuberculosis after spending a month in the TB ward at the facility where he was admitted after being involved in an accident.

Brenda Kobugabe, the Kabarole District Health Educator says that the department has started taking precaution to stop infections. She explains that the department has launched a toilet and bathroom etiquette campaign in health facilities.

Kobugabe adds that some patients and attendants don’t know how to use toilet and bathroom facilities, exposing their health to infections. She adds that health workers are also encouraged to wash their hands and use gloves, which could reduce infections.

According to the World Health Organization, one in ten people in developing countries contract an infection while in hospital due to poor quality healthcare. WHO states that healthcare-related infections are anywhere between two to 20 times higher than in developed countries.

Last month, WHO released guidelines to stop hospital acquired infections.  The guidelines recommend that antibiotics used to prevent and treat bacterial infections, should only be used to prevent infections before and during surgery, a crucial measure in stopping the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The move is aimed at tackling hospital-acquired infections usually caused by bacteria that get in through incisions made during surgery.