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Netcare continues to roll out disinfection robots countrywide

Kgaogelo Letsebe
By Kgaogelo Letsebe, Portals journalist
Johannesburg, 17 Jan 2018
Netcare Group is deploying Xenex Pulsed UV Disinfection Robots across its hospitals countrywide.
Netcare Group is deploying Xenex Pulsed UV Disinfection Robots across its hospitals countrywide.

Healthcare group, Netcare, is continuing to deploy Xenex Pulsed UV Disinfection Robots in a number of the groups' hospitals in the country.

The latest hospital to receive the 'bacteria-zapping' robots is its private care facility in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. The group has more than 55 hospitals countrywide.

Senior clinical advisor at Netcare, Dr Caroline Maslo, says the pilot programme which ran between 2015 and 2017 at Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital and Netcare Pretoria East Hospital respectively, yielded such positive results the group decided to order more. "Having tested the robots in different settings in the two facilities in separate provinces, we found that the results lived up to the independent international studies endorsing this method of disinfection. Most recently we ordered a second consignment of these highly advanced robots, to further bolster our existing disinfection measures."

According to the healthcare group, the robots produce pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light which, through patented technology, flares full spectrum germicidal UV light to destroying microorganisms using 5-minute cycles. "The portable disinfection robots disinfects and destroys the DNA of the most common as well as the known dangerous pathogens including bacteria, viruses and fungal spores. Being fully portable, we are able to continually move the robots around within our facilities, 24 hours a day, with minimal disruption to busy hospital areas. We are able to disinfect as many as 64 rooms a day with a single robot and achieve thorough disinfection far more quickly than the other traditional methods," says Maslo.

A recent study by International Data Corporation revealed that worldwide spending on robotics and related services will more than double by 2020, growing from $91.5 billion in 2016 to more than $188 billion in 2020. "Innovators in the field of robotics are delivering robots that can be used to perform a broader range of tasks, which is helping to drive the adoption of robotics into a wider base of industries including healthcare," stated the report.

Only recently made available in Africa for the first time, Maslo says they have also enlisted the robots for disinfecting Netcare 911 ambulances as well as high care and sensitive environments such as neonatal intensive care units.

Maslo says although the technology is entirely non-toxic, the only potential concern would be if a patient re to look directly at the UV light that the robot emits. "The area [which is being cleaned] must be vacated during the robot's disinfection cycle, as our eyes are sensitive to the UV light. Even so in the event that a person comes into contact with the robot, it will switch off automatically. Furthermore our infection prevention and control teams have been trained in the use of the robots to ensure that the room where the robot is deployed is cordoned off and that no one enters the area for the duration of the disinfection cycle."

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