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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Call for quality checks in health sector

By Our Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, OCT. 14. A drug policy, treatment policy and an antibiotic policy have become an absolute requirement for ensuring quality control in the healthcare delivery system, M. Balaraman Nair, the former Principal, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, has said.

He was delivering the keynote address at a function organised here on Thursday on the occasion of the World Standards Day. The function was organised by the Bureau of Standards (BIS) and National Institution for Quality and Reliability (NIQR).

The healthcare sector has assumed the status of an industry here but one without any quality checks or standards, he said. No attention was being paid to make the healthcare delivery system cost-effective and assure quality. There were no standards prescribed for the laboratories here and not even a law that all laboratories should be accredited.

"There was a proposal for setting up a Council for Lab Medicine so that the facilities in each laboratory could be assessed and accreditation issued accordingly. The proposal has been in cold storage for a long time because there is a strong lobby working against it," Dr. Nair said.

He pointed out that ISO certification for hospitals has become very difficult because often quality control did not extend to aspects such as blood banks, labs, hospital kitchens and materials supply. There should be strict regulation for hospital supplies; the criterion should not be the "cheapest acceptable," but the most cost-effective, he said.

Quality assurance should start at the bottom and one of the most primary steps would be the screening of all staff in a hospital to ensure that they are not the carriers of any disease-causing pathogens. But no attention is paid to these aspects.

C. Balagopal, the chairman of NIQR and the managing director, Terumo Penpol, said about 80 per cent of the products used in the healthcare sector in the country did not have any standards and would not be used elsewhere in the world. Less than 10 per cent of health care institutions were using standardised products.

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