Healthcare facilities the world over face a daily challenge to prevent the spread of infections and, with increasing concern about antibiotic resistance, healthcare group Netcare is teaming up with robots that seek and destroy viruses, bacteria and fungal spores within minutes.
Pic: Taking delivery of the new Xenex germ zapping robot at Netcare The Bay Hospital were, from left to right: nursing manager, Tersia Adams; general manager, Alan Abrahams; and infection prevention practitioner, Pranitha Mahadeo.
Netcare The Bay Hospital in Richards Bay is the latest facility in the Group to take delivery of a Xenex Pulsed Xenon UV disinfection robot. The robot was delivered earlier in January, and nursing staff members as well as cleaning staff from Tsebo, which provides cleaning services to the hospital, have already attended training sessions.
“Our new ‘ally’ in infection prevention and control has shown such impressive results internationally and during pilot trials at two of our hospitals, that Netcare recently ordered a second consignment of these highly advanced robots to further bolster our comprehensive existing disinfection measures,” says Alan Abrahams, general manager of Netcare The Bay Hospital.
Senior clinical advisor at Netcare, Dr Caroline Maslo, explains that the Xenex disinfection robots were recently made available in Africa for the first time, but are becoming an established line of defence against bacteria, viruses and fungi in healthcare facilities across Europe and the United States.
“Having tested the robots in different settings in the two facilities in separate provinces, we found that the results lived up to the independent international studies endorsing this method of disinfection,” Dr Maslo observes.
“What we found particularly impressive is the fact that the pulsed high-intensity xenon ultraviolet [UV] light used by the robot is not only highly effective in destroying viruses, bacteria and fungal spores, but is also able to achieve thorough disinfection far more quickly than the other traditional methods. Rigorous disinfection can be done within minutes, with minimal disruption to busy hospital areas, and the robots can be used 24 hours a day.”
The robot emits UV-C spectrum light, which destroys the DNA of bacteria, viruses and fungi to neutralise them and prevent them from replicating. The technology is entirely non-toxic, although the area must be vacated during the robot’s disinfection cycle, as our eyes are sensitive to the UV light.
“This form of disinfection is particularly useful against antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly referred to as ‘superbugs’, and has the added benefit that it is non-toxic. It is environmentally friendly in that it requires no water during operation, thus rendering it optimally water-wise when compared with other forms of intensive disinfection, and it furthermore uses minimal electricity,” Dr Maslo says.
Another important benefit is that the robots’ UV light does not result in any residue or potentially harmful by-products, which means it is totally safe for use in even the most sensitive environments, such as neonatal intensive care units where premature and other compromised babies are cared for.
“The Xenex robot has proved itself as effective and efficient, while being tough on germs yet gentle on the environment. This new technology does not replace the infection risk management protocols and procedures we already have in place, but will be used alongside them as an additional weapon in our arsenal against potentially harmful germs,” Abrahams explains.
“Another benefit brought about by the arrival of the robots is that the cleaning staff members responsible for operating this technology are acquiring new sets of skills. This is not a case of robots replacing human labour, but rather of robots empowering their human operators.”
“Introducing this new disinfection technology in Netcare The Bay Hospital is a significant step forward and is keeping our facility abreast of the latest advances in the global fight against microbe resistance in healthcare facilities,” concludes Abrahams.
Pic: Some of Netcare The Bay Hospital’s nursing staff members and cleaners from Tsebo, the cleaning services provider to the hospital, who attended a training session on the operation of the new Xenex germ zapping robot
Pic: Some of the cleaning staff members of Tsebo, the cleaning services provider to Netcare The Bay Hospital, who attended a training session on the operation of the new Xenex germ zapping robot.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare The Bay Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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