By Samuel Ouma
Kenya’s ministry of health has imposed new drastic measures to deal with the challenge presented by multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumonia.
The measures that include increased surveillance, active screening for those at risk, contact precaution, and environmental screening come in the wake of thirteen reported neonatal cases at the Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi.
While lauding healthcare workers at the facility for identifying and putting in place mechanisms to deal with the situation, health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said there was a need to enhance infection prevention and control measures amid an increase in rates of antimicrobial drug resistance cases.
“The Kenyatta National Hospital, as well as other health facilities, need to review their surveillance systems to improve identification and management of healthcare-acquired infections, screen all babies at admission to newborn units for early identification and isolation of infected ones, and ensure continuous capacity building for all staff on infection prevention and control,” said Kagwe.
He said all referral facilities must collaborate with other referring health facilities to minimize the cross-hospital transfer of infections.
The KNH microbiology laboratory, on August 22, 2022, identified an isolate of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumonia from the blood of an infant admitted to the neonatal critical care unit.
The Klebsiella pneumoniae organism isolated from the newborn unit was noted to be resistant to almost all the antibiotics available for treating neonates. Since then, the same organism has been isolated from 13 neonates, all managed as per standard procedures, out of which six have succumbed.
Through the division of Neonatal and child health, the ministry of health has enhanced efforts to improve infant mortality rates which stood at 22 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014, to realize sustainable development goals targeting an infant mortality rate of 12 deaths or below per 1,000 live births.
Among the measures include the development of the Maternal and Neonatal Health (MNH) quality of care standards which have already been finalized with the process of adaptation of the WHO quality of care standards for small and sick new-bornnewbornsth facilities currently underway.
Kagwe said the ministry is in the process of adopting and developing assessment tools for small and sick new-borns the age of one month, besides working with counties to build capacity and monitor the prescribed quality of care standards is being implemented.
The division of Neonatal and child health is also developing a tool for monitoring infants and sick new-borns with the aim of better managing infections.