High-level team to probe into ‘SMC germs infection’ claims
A high level team of experts will investigate claims regarding an infection outbreak at Salmaniya Medical Complex, it was revealed yesterday. Following a royal order, the Supreme Council of Health in co-operation with the Ministry of Health will conduct a high-level investigation to see if there is any truth in rumours over the infection outbreak at the Kingdom’s largest hospital.
The investigation will also involve an evaluation on infection control procedures and preparedness with the help of renowned specialists. The council stated that the evaluation will be carried out by strictly adhering to international standards. A team of specialist headed by an international expert will carry out the evaluation. These steps follows allegations on social media that the hospital has been infected with germs.
The Ministry of Health has already refuted these allegations. Denying such claims Infectious Diseases Consultant and Head of Infection Control Dr Safa Al Khawaja stated: “There is no so-called Salmaniya germ.” She said that the Department of Microbiology has not detected any new germs either this year or previously, cautioning against exaggeration. “The germs found at Salmaniya Medical Complex are commonly found in the same rates all over the world,” she said, stressing the ministry’s drive to monitor hospitals to ensure the lowest risks of infection for patients, staff and visitors.
She underlined the keenness of the SMC Infection Control Unit to reveal facts countering allegations so as to avoid sparking fears or panic among people. She affirmed that no germs were discovered in the air-conditioning system, pointing out the SMC engineers undertake routine control and evaluation of the air-conditioners in compliance with the international standards and protocols. “The SMC intensive care units has its own special ventilation system, separate from the rest of the complex to ensure the safety of inpatients in those units,” she said.
Dr Al Khawaja stressed the need to communicate with official authorities, pointing out that the SMC Infection Control Programme was set up based on the standards and protocols recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO-Core component) and the GCC committee’s recommendations.
“The WHO representatives, who praised the ministry’s efforts, recommended a reassessment of the procedures every five years,” she said, announcing that upcoming re-evaluation would be undertaken in 2021. She said that the SMC public health labs examine the water systems at the hospital and investigate any cases of “Legionella” to avert any transmission of infections to the hospitals through the water or air-conditioning systems.