The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) says that recent tests for the superbug has returned negative.

Superbugs are microorganisms that develop Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and was said to be present at the National Referral Hospital (NRH), with patients said to be showing symptoms.

“The NRH is pleased to provide updates on steps undertaken to address it and provide relevant information about the Superbug, as it is a serious matter for public safety and patients admitted to NRH,” the Ministry said in a prepared statement.

“NRH had conducted repeat swabbing of the patients and all results returned negative with clinical improvement in the health of the patients. With this, the NRH wish to inform the public that the issue of AMR at NRH is under controlled.

“Based on assessments, the initial sources for the superbug in these cases strongly indicates that they are community acquired or are contaminated at NRH.

“Following this incident NRH had activated its emergency system to address AMR. This includes assessment, development of an incident action plan and tasking of relevant teams, which includes clinical, pharmacy, laboratory, Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) and risk communication to address the matter.”

The Ministry says that most of these protocols have already been activated following the activation of the National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) in response to the COVID-19 threat such as IPC, which seeks to ensure the maintenance of hygiene and cleanliness within the wards which includes thorough mopping and scrubbing of the floor, walls and bed frames.

“This also involves provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and hygiene detergents such as soaps and hand sanitizer to promote and enhance personal hygiene for both health workers and sick patients to meet IPC standards in all the wards.

“The establishment of the COVID-19 isolation wards as part of the COVID-19 response has also add value to the ability of NRH to prevent any spread of the Superbug because the isolation wards can also be used to isolate anyone found to have the Superbug,” the Ministry said.

With this the NRH explains that the misuse of antibiotics (e.g. Amoxil, cloxacillin, septrin, flagyl) by self-medication, demanding from health workers (doctors, nurses, pharmacist), seeking self-prescription, under dosing, overdosing, inappropriate duration are part of the causation of the development of superbug or AMR.

NRH Medical Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer (ag) Dr. John Hue highlighted that as such, in addressing the Superbug, it takes combined efforts from the public, sick patients and their families including doctors and nurses who are prescribing medicines.

“The public must stop from treating themselves with antibiotics whenever they feel sick, family members of sick patients at NRH should observe visitation regulations set in place and doctors and nurses to rely on supportive laboratory evidence to assign the appropriate antibiotic with correct dosage and duration,” stated Dr. John Hue.

He added, “Only through this can we successfully prevent this Superbug and its transmission to continue preserving our health.

"Overall, there is a National Action Plan for AMR developed and is hoping to align all the different activities being done in the Solomon Islands in a more coordinated process.

"The plan was done with guidance and support from WHO and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and activities needed to combat AMR as outlined within the plan is ongoing."

Source: MHMS