TESTS conducted on patients suspected to have contracted Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) or superbug have returned negative with the situation now under control.
The National Referral Hospital (NRH) management revealed this yesterday in a statement to clarify an article published on 9 July carrying the headline ‘Superbug at NRH.’
The statement said NRH had conducted repeated swabbing of the patients and all results returned negative with the clinical improvement in the health of the patients.
“With this, the NRH wishes to inform the public that the issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), at NRH is under controlled,” the statement said.
The NRH in the statement also provided updates on steps undertaken to address the issue.
It also provided relevant information about the superbug, as it is a serious matter for public safety and patients admitted to NRH.
The hospital statement added based on assessments, the initial sources for the superbug in these cases strongly indicates that they are community-acquired or are contaminated at NRH.
“Following this incident NRH had activated its emergency system to address AMR. This includes assessment, development of an incident action plan and tasking of relevant teams, which includes clinical, pharmacy, laboratory, Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC), and risk communication to address the matter.
“Most of these teams have already been activated following the activation of the National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) in response to the COVID-19 threat such as IPC that have continuously ensure the maintenance of hygiene and cleanliness within the wards which include thorough mopping and scrubbing of the floor, walls, bed frames, etc.
“This also involves the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and hygiene detergents such as soaps and hand sanitizer to promote and enhance personal hygiene for both health workers and sick patients to meet IPC standards in all the wards,” explained the NRH statement.
The statement added the establishment of the COVID-19 isolation wards as part of the COVID-19 response has also added value to the ability of NRH to prevent any spread of the superbug because the isolation wards can also be used to isolate anyone found to have the superbug.
The statement also went on to explain that superbugs are microorganisms that develop the AMR.
“AMR is when these microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungus adapt to antimicrobial drugs.
Therefore these drugs become ineffective or resistant thus infections persists in the body, increasing health risks and transmission to others and lives are at risk with increasing infection, (Septicaemia).
“Misuse of antibiotics (eg amoxil, cloxacillin, septrin, flagyl, etc) by self-medication, demanding from health workers (doctors, nurses, pharmacist), seeking self-prescription, underdosing, overdosing, inappropriate duration are part of the cause in the development of superbug or AMR.
“The bacteria can spread to another person through contact with poor hygiene practices,” the statement said.
NRH Medical Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer (ag) Dr. John Hue highlighted that as such, in addressing the superbug, it takes combined efforts from the public, sick patients and their families including doctors and nurses who are prescribing medicines.
“The public must stop from treating themselves with antibiotics whenever they feel sick, family members of sick patients at NRH should observe visitation regulations set in place and doctors and nurses to rely on supportive laboratory evidence to assign the appropriate antibiotic with correct dosage and duration,” stated Dr. John Hue.
He added, “only through this can we successfully prevent this superbug and its transmission to continue preserving our health.”
Overall, there is a national action plan for AMR developed and is hoping to align all the different activities being done in the Solomon Islands in a more coordinated process, he said.
“The plan was done with guidance and support from WHO and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and activities needed to combat AMR as outlined within the plan is ongoing,” he said.
By ESTHER NURIA