COVID-19 and Hygiene in Public Healthcare Centres

Healthcare is a vital part of every nation’s sector. You cannot do without it. As a result, the government of every country or state makes sure to provide public healthcare facilities like hospitals, clinics, and laboratories, that can be within reach of everyone, rich or poor. But in most cases, the problem with such facilities is lack of maintenance. For this reason, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it was even more challenging to meet the needs of these people. The number of people needing healthcare services was largely increased because many people were diagnosed with COVID-19, in addition to those with common illnesses.

Many things make healthcare centres conducive for patients, including proper hygiene. It is wrong for such a place to be unhygienic, but sadly, from the rise in the number of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs), you can tell that is the case in some public healthcare centres.

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, scientists have come up with easy ways of testing for the virus. People with access to it could run a PCR home test, a form of same-day testing for COVID-19, and they would not necessarily have to go to a clinic or hospital. As much as this eases the burden on health workers in public healthcare centres, these facilities should still be in good condition for patients with extreme cases, so they do not contract other infections.

Lack of water is a significant and prevalent cause of poor hygiene in healthcare centres. Water is needed for drinking, taking showers, cleaning floors and surfaces, washing beddings, toilets, and other things that may come up. Clean running water should be constantly available at strategic points in healthcare centres. Consumption of contaminated or unclean water can lead to waterborne diseases like cholera, so water must be properly treated. Washing of hands is one of the COVID-19 preventive measures, so the availability of clean water and soap will benefit health workers and patients.

Alcohol-based sanitizers should also be available at these centres for further hand-cleansing. They can be placed in the bathrooms, and sanitizer dispensers should be mounted indoors and at the entrance. 

Healthcare workers, visitors, and patients should strictly maintain social distance to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus. Infected persons should also be isolated in a separate place from other patients. Proper ventilation is also necessary because it helps reduce the COVID-19 virus particles in the air. 

There should be the provision of proper toiletries in healthcare centres and also adequate maintenance of the restrooms to avoid infections of any kind.

Some hospital equipment usually shared among people, such as stethoscopes,  should be well sterilized after use with soap and water, at least. In cases of an infection outbreak, this equipment should be sterilized using detergent and hypochlorite. 

In adherence to the COVID-19 protocols, people should always wear facemasks within the clinic or hospital premises, not just in the theatres and ICUs. Security should ensure that people put on facemasks and wash their hands at the taps at the entrance一or use an available hand sanitizer一before entering the clinic or hospital. Facemasks should not only be worn to gain access to the healthcare centre, but they shouldn’t be taken off unless it is very necessary.

Many healthcare workers have little knowledge of hygiene and proper cleaning practices in healthcare centres, which is part of the problem. So, extra education should be offered on handling hospital equipment and properly cleaning hospital surroundings. It is necessary for everyone, from the highest-ranking healthcare worker to the lowest. Pathogens can be found on the most unsuspecting surfaces, like door handles, soap or sanitizer dispensers, tap handles, or computer keyboards, so it is advisable to ensure that hard-to-reach and overlooked surfaces are cleaned well. 

Cleanliness is essential within a clinic or hospital environment, so, in this pandemic period, all COVID-19 protocols must be adhered to strictly, and more rigorous practices must be implemented in public healthcare centres to ensure proper hygiene.