Panoramic view of the lactation room.

Second year students of the Nutrition School, at Universidad Francisco Marroquín, made an observational study in the lactation room of a state hospital, that came to improve significantly the procedures and conditions of those facilities, informed Marta Leticia Almengor, coordinator of the Nutrition Laboratory of the UFM’s Nutrition School.

The objective of the study was to locate critical control features at the lactation room and pediatric area of the state hospital, which was identified during the process of infantile formula sterilization.  In the lactating room, and due to the great number of infections acquired by the children hospitalized there, a thorough investigation on the causes of contamination in people, furniture, child formulas and other equipment that constitute a risk for the food consumed by the patients, therefore operational pre-requirements for their respective control were established.

In the hospital they found contamination with Citrobacter freundii, Citrobacter sp, Enterobacter sp, Enterococcus sp and great part with Escherichia coli in child bottle formulas and raw materials. In addition to these, a great amount of fungi ( Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Fusarium sp) was isolated in the air of these areas, with a dangerous predominance in the isolation area. This is a risk for the health of infants since they arrive at the hospital with an immunological system already affected. 

“The present facilities are been remodeled as a result of the study results presented by the UFM Nutrition School”, explained Almengor.

The system of hazard analysis and critical control checks seeks to determine the critical control checks in any type of installation where nutritional products are handled and administered. Its objective is to obtain a state of security and health with a fulfillment of good hygiene and manufacturing practices. 

We manage to determine that people who work in these areas are seriously contaminated.  There is no internal control to verify the good use of the sterilizer and therefore the sterility of formula bottles during the sterilization process. The bottles that are taken from the lactating room to the pediatric department do not comply with the sanitary rules, due to a bad nutritional calculus and for being a good place for microorganisms and bacteria to grow. Therefore, the patients who use them worsen their health state and many are driven to death. Aside from this problem, the people who work there do not fulfill the necessary requirements of personal hygiene and therefore do not practice the rules of hygiene in the performance of their functions.