Health

Hospital infections. WHO: “10% of hospitalized patients risk death. But with hygiene and good practices it is possible to reduce them by 70% “

The numbers and proposals are contained in the first global report on infection prevention and control from the World Health Organization. Today, out of 100 patients in acute care hospitals, seven patients in high-income countries and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries will acquire at least one health care associated infection (ICA) during their hospital stay. On average, 1 in 10 patients is at risk of death. THE REPORT

06 MAY

The COVID-19 pandemic and other recent large disease outbreaks have highlighted the extent to which healthcare facilities can contribute to the spread of infections, harming patients, healthcare professionals and visitors, if insufficient attention is paid to prevention and infection control (IPC). But a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that if good hand hygiene and other convenient practices are followed, 70% of these infections can be prevented.

Today, out of 100 patients in acute care hospitals, seven patients in high-income countries and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries will acquire at least one health care associated infection (HAI) during their hospital stay. On average, 1 in 10 patients will die from their HAI. People in intensive care and newborns are particularly at risk. And the report reveals that about one in four cases of sepsis treated in hospital and nearly half of all cases of sepsis with organ dysfunction treated in adult intensive care units are associated with health care.

Today, in the aftermath of World Hand Hygiene Day of May 5, WHO is previewing the first global report on infection prevention and control that brings together evidence from the scientific literature and various reports and new data from the studies of the WHO.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many challenges and gaps in CPI across regions and countries, including those that had the most advanced IPC programs,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “It also provided an unprecedented opportunity to take stock of the situation and rapidly increase preparedness and response to outbreaks through IPC practices, as well as strengthen IPC programs throughout the health system. Our challenge now is to ensure that all countries are able to allocate the necessary human resources, supplies and infrastructure ”.

The new WHO report provides the first ever global situation analysis of how IPC programs are being implemented in countries around the world, including regional and national focuses. While highlighting the harm to patients and healthcare professionals caused by HAIs and antimicrobial resistance, the report also addresses the impact and cost-effectiveness of infection prevention and control programs and the strategies and resources available to countries to improve them.

The impact of health care-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance on people’s lives is incalculable. Over 24% of patients with health care-associated sepsis and 52.3% of those treated in an intensive care unit die each year. Deaths increase two to three times when infections are resistant to antimicrobials.

Over the past five years, WHO has conducted comprehensive surveys and joint country assessments to assess the state of implementation of national IPC programs. Comparing data from the 2017-18 and 2021-22 surveys, the percentage of countries that have a national CPI program did not improve; furthermore, in 2021-22 only four of the 106 countries evaluated (3.8%) had all the minimum requirements for CPI in force at national level. This is reflected in inadequate implementation of IPC practices at the point of care, with only 15.2% of healthcare facilities meeting all IPC minimum requirements, according to a WHO survey in 2019.

However, encouraging progress has been made in some areas, with a significant increase in the percentage of countries that have an appointed IPC focal point, a dedicated IPC budget and a curriculum for training frontline health workers; the development of national IPC guidelines and a national program or plan for the surveillance of HAIs; using multimodal strategies for IPC interventions; and establish hand hygiene compliance as a key national indicator.

Many countries are demonstrating strong commitment and progress in stepping up actions to implement minimum requirements and key components of IPC programs. Progress is strongly supported by WHO and other key actors. Supporting and further expanding this long-term progress is a key need that requires urgent attention and investment.

The report reveals that high-income countries are more likely to advance their work on CPI and are eight times more likely to have more advanced CPI implementation status than low-income countries. Indeed, little improvement was observed in the implementation of national CPI programs in low-income countries between 2018 and 2021, although more attention has generally been paid to CPI due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO will continue to support countries to ensure that IPC programs can be improved in each region.

WHO calls on all countries around the world to increase their investment in IPC programs to ensure the quality of care and the safety of patients and healthcare professionals. Not only will this protect their populations, but increased investment in IPC has also been shown to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce healthcare costs and out-of-pocket expenses.

06 May 2022
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