As the number of patients of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has increased to 21,295 and killed 17 children, the Health Ministry has called on local health authorities to put in more effort to prevent the epidemic.
A child with HFMD being treated at a hospital in HCMC. The Health Ministry has called for more efforts to halt the epidemic's spread , Photo: Tuoi Tre
Speaking at yesterday’s conference on measures to minimize deaths from the disease, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien warned that the epidemic has been more serious than it was last year, and asked that all health units strengthen measures against the disease that have spread to all 63 provinces and cities of the country.
The disease rate is 23.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and the deaths include four in An Giang, two each in HCMC, Dong Thap, Dong Nai and Can Tho, and one each in Da Nang, Dak Lak, Binh Dinh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and Vinh Long, the Preventive Health Department told the conference.
In order to restrain the epidemic’s spread, hospitals must boost training for doctors, nurses and other health workers in HFMD to improve their professional skills that will help enhance treatment quality, the minister said.
Hospitals should also increase the number of nurses to reach a ratio of nurses to doctors at 3:1, instead of just 1.3-1.5 nurse per doctor at present.
As doctors cannot be with every patient around the clock and patients’ relatives cannot know what their relatives’ condition is, it is nurses who can closely observe the patients’ health conditions and report the situation to doctors in time, she explained.
A boy contracting the hand, foot and mouth being treated at the Pediatrics Hospital I in HCMC (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Hospitals that go short of medical equipment for HFMD examination and treatment should report their needs to the health departments in provinces and cities for assistance, the minister said.
As showed in reports from some hospitals, there have been cases in which patients died not only due to severe illness but also due to mistaken diagnosis, tardiness in treatment and shortcomings in hospital transfer, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen said.
Among the 153 children who have died from HFMD since last year, 81 percent were under 3 years old, Dr. Nguyen Minh Tien, deputy head of the intensive care unit of the Pediatrics Hospital 1 in HCMC, reported.
Of the total deaths, 40 had been wrongly diagnosed by doctors who mistook the HFMD for other diseases, Tien said.
As a measure to improve treatment quality, Xuyen asked the Examination and Treatment Department to update its treatment diagrams and make them known to all hospitals. The department should also organize training courses for doctors and nurses of hospitals, where necessary.
Every extensive care unit of pediatrics hospitals must have at least five beds available for children with HFMD at level 2b upward and must be fully provided with health workers, equipment and medicines, in accordance with the ministry’s instructions, Xuyen said.
Source: Tuoi Tre
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