Long empty hospital corridor (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman promised on Tuesday to “take responsibility” for nosocomial (in-hospital) infections through a special national program.
“We see this as a major target for general hospitals and others where patients are hospitalized in the long term. We will take drastic measures” to deal with the problem that kills thousands of Israelis each year, he said.
Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov added that dealing with nosocomial infections “will be in the center of our activities. For that, we prepared a national program with a model of bonuses to hospitals that manage to reduce the number of infections. We will continue to report on this to the public.”
Due to a rise in hospital-acquired infections, especially those caused by virulent, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a national center for prevention of such illness was established by the ministry in 2007. Nine years later, the ministry established a “dynamic national program with a NIS 50 million annual budget.”
This strengthens anti-infection units in the hospitals, increases the number of their nurses and doctors specially trained in the field, improves labs and adds workshops and conferences on the subject.
Many nosocomial infections can be prevented simply by ensuring that hospital medical staffers wash their hands carefully with soap and water or alcohol gel after touching each patient. Another step is teaching medical staffers not to overuse antibiotics on patients.