Hospitals experience high rates of infection, doctors say

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Every year, around 600,000 Vietnamese in-patients contract infections during hospital stays, doctors announced at a Ho Chi Minh City conference, on Thursday.

Le Hoang Ninh, Director of the Public Health Hygiene Institute at the Ministry of Health, said that of the 7.5 million people admitted to Vietnamese hospitals every year, around 600,000 of them contract infections during treatment.

Most of the infections are contracted following surgery, he noted.

Visitors, poorly maintained air-conditioners and door knobs contributed to the infections said doctors at the conference on medical and home disposals.

Doctor Le Thi Anh Thu, head of the Infection Prevention Department at Cho Ray Hospital, said that hospital infections are usually contracted during the surgery and recovery phases.

The team announced that of 33 HCMC surgery and recovery rooms considered, 80 percent contained unacceptable levels of microorganisms.

At Gia Dinh People's Hospital, 60 percent of patients on respirators were found to suffer from lung inflammation.

Ninh said hospital infections usually lengthen the treatment time by between ten and 24 days. They also add between VND2 and 32 million (US$102-1,640) to treatment costs.

Patients are likely to contract infections in their weakened state, especially babies, old people or patients on respirators, he added.

Ninh said bacteria, fungus and viruses can develop during hospitalization or after the patients are discharged, and some kinds of the infections can be fatal, such as lung inflammation or blood infections.

"That makes hospitals dangerous places."

Thu said unsanitary hospital conditions also helps give birth to resistant bacteria.

Doctors said killing bacteria with ultraviolet rays and spraying chemicals are necessary but it's better if medical staff and visitors wash their hands, wear face masks regularly and put on anti-infection costumes when required.

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