Reusing certain medical devices is normal, says Health Ministry

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that all single-use medical devices used for patients with blood borne diseases were not reused, like the majority of such items for other patients. — Bernama pic
Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that all single-use medical devices used for patients with blood borne diseases were not reused, like the majority of such items for other patients. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Recycling certain single-use medical devices has long been practised in Malaysia and has no connection with any budget constraint issues, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said today.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that all single-use medical devices used for patients with blood borne diseases were not reused, like the majority of such items for other patients.

“However, there are some single-use medical devices that are used more than once, whereby it has to undergo reprocessing via thorough cleansing and sterilisation processes before it can be reused for few times,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement.

“In fact, this reprocessing practice is a norm even in private health facilities in Malaysia and in developed countries such as United States, European Nations and OECD countries. US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for instance, had listed 229 single-use devices known to be reprocessed or considered for reprocessing,” he added.

He cited a survey by the Medical Device Authority that found 37 per cent out of 40 private hospitals surveyed reused and reprocessed single-use medical devices, similar to the practice in MOH hospitals.

“The important factors which can never be compromised in this practice are infection control and the patient safety,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said healthcare associated infection prevalence in MOH facilities dropped from 3.3 per cent in March 2009 to 1.65 per cent in October 2016, compared to 4 per cent reported in a 2009 study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.

“Similarly, the Healthcare Associated Bloodstream Infection in MOH health facilities is at all time low in 2016 which is only 0.22 per cent, as compared to 9.9 per cent quoted in the same study by CDC in 2009. These improvements were made possible due to proactive and comprehensive infection control measures and patient safety programme at MOH health facilities,” he said.

The MOH DG also pointed out that medical devices were now better regulated in Malaysia with the enactment of the Medical Device Act that came into effect in 2012.

“The Medical Device Authority (MDA) is in the process of drafting a holistic guideline and policy on reprocessing of medical device, by drawing expert opinions and best practices as practiced in United States, Canada, Australia and EU Nations for reprocessing of single-use medical device,” he said.

News portal Free Malaysia Today earlier reported an unnamed source as saying that some public hospitals were recycling single-use equipment used in neurosurgery, cardiology, and general surgeries due to budget constraints, amid a shift in patients from the private to public sector.

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