Patients at Bach Mai Hospital, Hanoi
Between five and eight percent of hospitalized patients in Vietnam get infections during their stay, and the rate is higher at big hospitals, heard a national conference in Hanoi on Tuesday.
A report on Tuoi Tre quoted statistics released at the conference held by the Health Ministry as stating that four out of every 100 surgical patients saw their wounds infected while 20-30 percent of patients using ventilators acquired pneumonia.
These were among the most common hospital-acquired infections, which also included blood and urinary tract infections, said Tran Quy, chairman of the Hanoi Infection Control Society.
Pham Duc Muc, deputy chief of the ministry's Department for Health Examination and Treatment, said the infection rate was higher at provincial and central hospitals because patients there had worse diseases and had more invasive treatments.
Hospital-acquired infections extended stays, required for more antibiotics use, and increased expenses as well as the death rate among hospitalized patients, Quy said.
Although international studies found that health workers could help decrease the infection rate by 40-50 percent simply by washing their hands at the right times and in the correct manner, only 50-60 percent of health workers at major hospitals washed their hands, Muc said.
The rate was much lower at smaller hospitals where just 20-30 percent of health workers washed their hands, he said.
Many doctors believed that as long as they used gloves, they did not need to wash their hands, and many were found using one pair of gloves repeatedly, according to Muc.
Associations for patients' safety would be established in the future, and patients could then file complaints against doctors and health workers who failed to wash their hands before procedures, the official was quoted as saying.
More than 1.4 million people suffer from infectious complications during a hospital stay worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization.
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