Hygiene in most hospitals in Cote d’Ivoire is so low that the ministry of health has launched a nationwide clean-up campaign.
“We hope to eliminate from our hospitals [bad] practices that add risks to patients’ health,” Health Minister Rémi Allah Kouadio told journalists at the campaign’s launch on 28 March in Abidjan.
He said Ivorians are at “very great risk” of infection every time they seek medical treatment, although he also said that the extent to which facilities are contaminated has not yet been properly researched.
The director of public health Alexandre N’Guessan said he believed that most of the infections occur because medical waste has not been properly disposed of as health workers are not following established norms.
“Ignoring basic rules of hygiene constitutes a danger,” he said.
Some 20 percent of medical waste produced in hospitals is hazardous, according to the World Health Organization. The reuse of dirty syringes causes between 80,000 and 160,000 new HIV infections every year worldwide, as well as millions of cases of hepatitis B and C.
The new government programme will attempt to make medical staff more aware of how to dispose of medical waste and how to keep health facilities more hygienic.