How we ensured no staff died of COVID-19, by UBTH

No member of staff of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) died of the dreaded virus during the pandemic first wave, it was learnt yesterday.

Similarly, no staff of the hospital’s isolation centre has contracted the virus since the hospital first recorded two cases on March 31, 2020.

Speaking to reporters about the hospital’s response to the COVID outbreak in Nigeria and Edo State, UBTH Chief Medical Director, Prof.  Darlington Obaseki, attributed the success recorded so far to the hospital’s policy on infection control initiated by the management well before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Prof. Obaseki stated that the management, under his leadership, had before the COVID-19 outbreak and as part of its strategic reforms, “reinvigorated and empowered” the hospital’s  Infection Control (IPC) Committee, which embarked on an extensive hygiene campaign for staff and around the hospital.

“All cadres of staff had been trained on infection prevention and control standards before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. This and the inauguration of a Rapid Response Team and a disaster Management Team formed an integral part of the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Edo State.”

The hospital, he added, also had to refurbish an already existing isolation ward as part of its preparation for the pandemic.

According to him, UBTH relied on alcohol-based hand sanitisers produced by its Pharmacy Department while its linen department stepped up production of reusable PPE, including aprons, gowns, face masks among others to aid its infection control and prevention drive.

“The Civil and Building Unit also developed stand-alone hand wash stations fabricated from drums with direct connections to the hospital water and drainage system, allowing continuous supply of water and autonomous drainage. Each wash station has a soap dispenser attached. These were deployed to all the entrance points and service areas.”

“Also, to promote infection prevention and control, especially to sterilise reusable items such as N-95 masks, face shield etc, our Medical Microbiology Instruments Unit designed and manufactured UV sterilising chambers and UV room sterilisers. These contributed greatly towards the prevention of COVID-19 in the hospital.”

Asked if the hospital experienced any challenge in the management of critical cases due to lack of oxygen and other respiratory equipment, Prof. Obaseki noted that the hospital recently installed a new European standard oxygen plant with the capacity to produce 80 (7.5 ms) cylinders per day. This, he said, has reduced the need for externally sourced medical oxygen and has improved the quality of oxygen provided to patients.

He added that the hospital also installed oxygen pipelines to the medical emergency ward, which was extended to all wards in the Accident and Emergency complex.

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