Hospital-Acquired Infections Affect KZN’s Hospital Healthcare Quality, Finds Study
Dr Christiana Shobo from UKZN’s Antimicrobial Research Unit, graduated with a PhD in Medical Microbiology for her study titled: Enterococcus sp. Contamination Surveillance in Different Levels of Healthcare in eThekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) South Africa.
It investigated the functional profile and diversity of bacteria from various inanimate environmental sources from two different wards in public hospitals at various healthcare levels in the eThekwini District.
Hospital-acquired infections (healthcare-associated infections) are nosocomially acquired infections that are not present or incubating at the time of admission to a hospital but occur within 72 hours of admission. These infections are caught in a hospital and are potentially caused by organisms that are resistant to antibiotics.
Samples were collected for a period of three months (September – November 2017) from four levels of healthcare in the eThekwini District. The intensive care units and paediatric wards formed part of this study. A total of 620 swabs were collected from areas frequently touched by healthcare workers and patients. These sites included linen from occupied and unoccupied beds, drip stands, patient files, ward phones, ventilators, nurses' tables, blood pressure apparatus, sinks, linen room door handles and mops.
Antibiotic resistance patterns in the Enterococcus spp. isolates were determined by the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method against 14 antibiotics as recommended by the Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute guidelines. The results indicated that 37 samples from E. faecalis showed intermediate resistance to the antibiotic, vancomycin.
Shobo’s study emphasises the urgent need to optimise infection prevention and control measures to intercept or moderate the spread of bacteria in hospital environments. She has published these findings in international high impact peer-reviewed journals and has further papers in the publishing process.
Shobo was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She obtained a National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Microbiology from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Nigeria and a Master of Medical Science degree in Medical Microbiology summa cum laude from UKZN. She recently became a certified professional of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science and the Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario.
Shobo, who enjoys watching movies, reading novels and cooking is a wife and mother of two boys (Demilade and Damisire). She is currently working at the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory and Children hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Canada in the microbiology/virology laboratories as a medical laboratory and molecular technician.
She said: ‘I would like to acknowledge my supervisors, Dr Linda Bester and Professor Sabiha Essack for their support and synergetic supervisory roles during the PhD programme. I couldn’t feel more honoured to be Dr Bester’s first PhD graduate. My thanks go to the Young Researcher’s Grant of the College of Health Sciences for sponsorship of the study. Special thanks to my very supportive husband, Dr Adeola Shobo, who by the way graduated with his PhD (Pharmaceutical Chemistry) from UKZN in 2016. As a fellow scientist, his pivotal role made a huge difference to the success of my study and this is greatly appreciated. In addition, I would like to thank members of the Awojirin and Shobo families for their prayers, support and love during this PhD programme; you are indeed amazing. Finally, to my late parents, both of whom I lost during my programmes at UKZN, your efforts yielded good fruit and I am most grateful. May your souls continue to rest in peace. To God be all the glory!’
Words: MaryAnn Francis