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The central government is planning to engage pharmacists to handle medical devices to control infections in the hospitals as a step towards involving them in the country's healthcare sector.

Particularly in hospitals, patients face a greater risk of hospital acquired infections and it has been viewed as one of the biggest problems for the chronically ill. According to Dr. Sai Kumar, national president of Doctor of Pharmacy Association, the patients in the post operative care are highly prone to get hospital acquired infections if proper care is not taken in handling the medical devices. “In my view, pharmacists cannot just be restricted to dispensing of medicines, but he can also be trained to use and control medical devices intended for the patient so as to avoid hospital acquired infections,” informs Dr. Sai Kumar.

In view of this, the Union government is also contemplating to see how best the pharmacists can be utilised to handle the medical devices and its control so as to avoid the hospital related infections. In fact the hospital-acquired infection is also known as nosocomial infection. It is an infection that is contracted from the environment or staff of a healthcare facility. Health care staff can spread infection, in addition to contaminated equipment, bed linens, or air droplets. In some cases the microorganism originates from the patient's own skin microbiota, becoming opportunistic after surgery or other procedures that compromise the protective skin barrier.

Particularly in Indian government hospitals, the spread of infection in the hospitals is wider as equipments used are either not disposed properly or sometimes used for many patients without following proper cleaning procedure.

According to Sai Kumar, the pharmacists can not only play the role in delivery of drugs but also can lead and manage the development, implementation and safety of the devices effectively, if trained accordingly in a hospital set up.

Not just this, the pharmacists can be part of the delivery formats wherein there will be a single window clearance for medical devices and related approvals.

Medical devices are a major aspect of patient care and as doctors are treating patients it becomes difficult for them to evaluate the conditions of the devices which leads to dissatisfaction among the patients and also hinders their care.

Over all, if pharmacists are allowed to get into handling of medical devices for controlling hospital acquired infections, it will provide more job opportunities for the pharmacists and at the same time ensure efficient healthcare.
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