Following the production of alcohol-based hand sanitizers by the Pharmacy Manufacturing Team, the Tamale Teaching Hospital has once again taken giant steps towards improving infection prevention and control.

The team led by the Director of Pharmacy, Dr. Hamidu Abdulai began on-site generation of liquid chlorine, the first of its kind in Ghana.

This approach has yielded overwhelming results since its inception in April this year. Dr. Hamidu Abdulai disclosed this in an interview with THE CUSTODIAN.

Chlorine is a strong and widely used disinfectant for deactivating pathogenic microorganisms in drinking water, swimming pools and wastewater, for disinfection of household area, healthcare institutions and laundry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes chlorine as a key disinfectant in infection prevention and control especially in healthcare institutions. Liquid chlorine is used for decontamination of surgical equipment, medical devices, instruments, body fluids and blood spills, and for disinfection of patient care areas.

Following the Ebola Pandemic in Africa in 2014-2016, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a chlorine concentration of 0.4% to 0.5% (4,000 to 5,000 mg/l) to be used in health care settings for surface cleaning where it is not directly exposed to skin.

For washing or rinsing hands, they recommended a concentration of 500 mg/l.

Studies have shown that chlorine used for surface cleaning results in 99.9% or greater kill of viruses and bacteria.

THE CUSTODIAN gathered that; the On-site generator (OSG) system produces liquid chlorine as mixed oxidant solution at a concentration of 5,000 mg/l through the electrolysis of sodium chloride (Brine).

The system unit is capable of producing 4.8litres of liquid chlorine per hour and will operate continuously as long as salt and water are available.  On-site generation of liquid chlorine is enormously economical as compared to commercially acquired chlorine tablets.

The Mixed Oxidant Solution (MOS) includes chlorine as sodium hypochlorite but also small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. This combination makes it more effective as a disinfectant than just sodium hypochlorite at 0.8%.

He added that since April, the hospital has been producing and supplying liquid chlorine to various units and departments through its collaboration with Aqua Research LLC. Key amongst these units are the COVID-19 isolation, treatment and testing centers, Obstetrics & Gynaecology departments, ICU, laboratories, theatres and wards.

The liquid chlorine produced has been used for various purposes in TTH including fumigation of Covid-19 treatment and isolation centers as well as other wards, departments and units in the hospital.

Besides the economic benefit of on-site generated chlorine to the institution, the Director of Pharmacy added that users including nurses, midwives, doctors and cleaners have attested to its potency, effectiveness and convenience.

Also, several quality control tests conducted by the Pharmacy Manufacturing Team have consistently proven its high quality and thus reliable.

Dr Hamidu Abdulai also said that the Board Chairman, Mr. Nasirdeen Mahmoud and the hospital management have been supportive towards the expansion of production to fully meet the demands of the institution and also make the product available to other health institutions and the public.

Since healthcare facilities heavily depend on chlorine for decontamination and disinfection, on-site generation of chlorine will be most useful due to its affordability and sustainability.

The Manufacturing Team is looking forward to distributing chlorine to institutions such as hospitals, clinics, schools, hotels, homes, restaurants, laundry services, waste management facilities, mortuaries in the nearest future simply because chlorine is essential to achieve optimum disinfection.

Furthermore, education of the public is needed as chlorine utilization in infection prevention and control is strategic, essential and affordable.