Healthcare-associated infections i.e. HAIs only usually receive public attention when there are epidemics. The situation is no different with rising hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
Although often hidden from public attention, the very real endemic, the ongoing problem is one that no institution or country can claim to have solved, despite many efforts. Hundreds of millions of patients are affected by healthcare-associated infections worldwide each year, leading to significant mortality and financial losses for health systems.
As per the World Health Organisation,
- Of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, 7 in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire at least one healthcare-associated infection.
- While urinary tract infection is the most frequent healthcare-associated infection in high-income countries, surgical site infection is the leading infection in settings with limited resources, affecting up to one-third of operated patients; this is up to nine times higher than in developed countries.
- Newborns are at higher risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infection in developing countries, with infection rates three to 20 times higher than in high-income countries.
The main solutions and perspectives for improvement identified by WHO are:
- Identifying local determinants of the HAI burden.
- Improving reporting and surveillance systems at the national level.
- Ensuring minimum requirements in terms of facilities and dedicated resources available for HAI surveillance at the institutional level, including microbiology laboratories’ capacity.
- Ensuring that core components for infection control are in place at the national and healthcare setting levels.
- Implementing standard precautions, particularly best hand hygiene practices at the bedside.
- Improving staff education and accountability.
- Conducting research to adapt and validate surveillance protocols based on the reality of developing countries.
- Conducting research on the potential involvement of patients and their families in HAI reporting and control
Keeping this in mind, our nurse educator Ms. Manisha Saklani attempts to throw some spotlight on Healthcare-Associated Infections in this extensive module from the point of view of a Nurse and her pivotal role & responsibility in its prevention.
Note: The video is just a 3 minute peek into the full module on HAIs where Manisha talks about the definition, factors that increase the risk of HAIs and it’s various types. To get access to the full module on HAIs write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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