Waging war on hospital infection

Sheba and Galilee Medical Centers work together in The Magen Chaim Initiative

Lives are being lost in places where they should be saved. Hospital infections currently claim as many as 5,000 lives every year in Israel. Sheba is leading the fight against hospital infections, disclosing its own infection rates and calling on other hospitals to do the same.

With awareness that this issue goes beyond the bounds of any one hospital, Sheba Medical Center has partnered with the Galilee Medical Center as part of a nationwide campaign to cut the hospital infection rate by half in 2017.

This cooperation started with the mutual release of current infection rates at both hospitals, information which was not previously made public. Professor Yitzchak Kreiss, Director of Sheba Medical Center and one of the initiative’s leaders, remarked, “We are in the process of implementing a cultural change by encouraging transparency in the public medical system. And for the first time we decided to disclose, together with the Galilee Medical Center, the types of commonly acquired infections that will be used as basis for survey and supervision.”

The national initiative, known as the “Magen Chaim Initiative,” is run in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the National Initiative Fund. The National Initiative Fund is investing 10 million shekels towards combatting hospital infections.

As one of the largest medical centers in Northern Israel, the Galilee Medical Center was an obvious partner for Sheba, with close to 2 million patients per year passing through the two hospitals. Prof. Kreiss said, “It’s no coincidence we are working with the Galilee Medical Center. Our common goal is reducing the infection rate and by that, also reducing the infection-caused death rate. We are working to establish true cooperation between the two medical facilities.”

Dr. Masad Barhoum, Director of the Galilee Medical Center, added, “Our responsibility towards our patients is what drove us to do all we can, so that people in Northern Israel can enjoy the best medical treatments possible. Our ward for premature babies showed zero infections during the past year. We are glad to share our knowledge and experience in order to dramatically reduce this wide-scale problem.”

All eyes are on the Sheba – Galilee partnership in the months ahead, with Israelis from around the country awaiting a successful outcome. The head of the National Initiative Fund, Gadi Lesin, explained, “A heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of the directors and medical workers at the Sheba and Galilee Medical Centers. We will provide all the assistance we can behind the scenes to make sure the initiative is a success. We thank you for answering the call and taking this mission upon yourselves.”

Dr. Anat Ekka-Zohar, Director of Quality, Service and Safety Management in the Ministry of Health, had the greatest confidence in staff of both institutions, saying, “I’m certain we’ll witness the reduction of infection in both medical centers as a result of this initiative. Your dedication is admirable, we believe in you.”

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