Kolkata: The State Health department is set to take stringent measures to check the misuse of antibiotics which are being reported from different parts of Bengal and a stricter vigil will be conducted in both the state-run and private hospitals to examine if the protocols laid down by the department are being followed.

The purposes of the move are manifold. The Health department wants to ensure that there is no misuse of antibiotics as there have been such instances following the appearance of various infections, including dengue and malaria. The department may conduct an audit of the prescriptions to find out if the doctors are prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily.

Health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam has issued certain directives to the senior health officials asking them to ensure that the hospitals carry out disinfecting programmes in the CCU/ICU and follow the protocols laid down by the state government. It has been decided that collection of swabs will be done at the CCU of various hospitals to assess the prevailing situation of infection.

After conducting a survey, the Health department has observed that a section of doctors have been prescribing antibiotics. There have been instances where patients are buying antibiotics from the medicines shops on their own without consulting a doctor. It was also found during the survey that many of these patients have already developed resistance against the antibiotics. Some doctors are also prescribing antibiotics without doing the WBC count or the culture sensitivity. The survey was recently conducted on the basis of 32,000 case studies in state-run hospitals. It revealed that the prevalence of usage of antibiotics unnecessarily is high in the state.

It has also been found that there are lapses in the disinfecting programme in the CCU/ICU of some hospitals as they are claiming that there are patients who are undergoing treatment in the critical care facilities. Many patients are falling victims to the hospital-induced infection with some patients developing sepsis.

The Health department has given instructions so that surveillance is carried out in a more effective manner.

The Director of Health Services and Director of Medical Education have been directed to ensure that the hospitals abide by the protocols and norms set by the department.