Karachi (PPI) - Infection control system in Pakistani hospitals is in shambles and a large number of admitted patients die after catching infections from hospitals. Up to 15 percent deaths in private hospitals and 70 percent deaths in government-run hospitals are attributable to different types of infection, said Infection Control Society Pakistan President Dr. M. Rafiq Khanani. Talking to PPI here on Wednesday, he said that the infection rate is far higher in government sector hospitals in our country than private hospitals. He said in a few high standard private hospitals only 2 to 3 % infection rate is reported. He added that 12 to 15 % patients catch infected when doctors, paramedics and other healthcare professionals perform different procedures on them without carrying out standard infection control measures. The rate of infection during surgeries is very high as 10 to 12 % patients are infected during their surgeries. He added that overall 12 to 15 % patients are infected during different medical procedures in government hospitals, which is alarming. Dr. Khanani said that the situation is far worse in small private hospitals like maternity homes and other healthcare units where 15 to 20 % patients are infected during different healthcare procedures. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in Pakistan to make doctors, paramedics and medical technicians accountable for spreading hospital infection in their patients, he added. The infection rate is very high in government hospitals as the doctors have a huge workload. He said the number of patients in government hospitals is very high and doctors and other medical staff often fail to take proper precautions for infection prevention in their patients. He said almost all government hospitals lack a proper in-built infection control system at their premises. We have recommended the government to form infection control committees in each and every hospital, for auditing all health professionals for their medical procedures, he said. We are working with department of health in this regard and have proposed committees in different hospitals. In the past many committees on infection control in government hospitals were formed but they couldnt function properly and gave a dismal output, he said. Around three years back one such committee was formed in Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center (JPMC) Karachi, which miserably failed to deliver. Similarly a committee was formed in Abbassi Shaheed Hospital, which is not working, anymore. Three months back a committee was formed in Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), which is functioning in relatively better manner, says Dr Khanani. The infrastructure in government-run hospitals has never been satisfactory, which is a major reason of infection spread in these hospitals, he said. He added that a recent example of such poor infrastructure was the failure of sewerage system in the Radiology Department of CHK, which caused overflow of gutter water in the department. He said hygienic conditions in at newly constructed wards at the CHK are good but due to unavailability of different facilities things sometimes go wrong. He said at the dressing room of CHK, sometimes sterilized dressing is not available which becomes a major cause of infection. He said they have also received complaints that the causality of CHK faces water shortage, which is a major hurdle in ensuring proper hygiene and good infection control. Dr Khanani said at the JPMC a research was conducted, recently, by some doctors who concluded that the hygienic condition is so worse that some wards and theatres at the JPMC have the bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics available in Pakistan. He said this is matter of great concern, as the JPMC is the premier government-run tertiary-care hospital. I wont mention the names of these wards and their doctors, he added. He added that the decontamination producers are available by which we could decontaminate wards and theatres, but unfortunately such procedures are not followed in our country, especially in government-run hospitals. He said that 70 % of hospital infection could be prevented if doctors and other paramedics just only wash their hands with soap after examining a patient or conducting some procedure on him. He said unfortunately even soap and water are not available in many of our government hospitals and dispensaries; resultantly, infections spread with leaps and bounds. Majority of the infection could be prevented by simple precautions at hospitals and by ensuring water and soap availability, he said. He added that the education and training of paramedics and nurses regarding good hygienic procedure and basic infection control is very important. Dr Khanani said that spread of infection also depends on the skills of a surgeon, theater technicians and other paramedics like nurses. He added that all the hospital equipment should be invariably sterilized to prevent the infection. He said no leniency in this regard should be tolerated. As a first step, hands of all theater assistants, nurses, anesthetists and other paramedics should be properly washed while handling a surgery, he said, adding that infection control procedures should be adopted to keep the patients, doctors, nurses, paramedics and healthcare professionals safe from the infection. Infection Control Society Pakistan has taken several steps to control infections, especially hospital infections, he said. We have prepared an 'Infection Control Manual and distributed it to all the hospitals. We have also held workshops and seminars with to educate the health professionals how to perform different procedures to prevent the spread of infection.