With COVID-19 pandemic and other recent disease outbreaks highlighting the relevance of attention to Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), a new report from the World Health Organisation stresses that 70 per cent of those infections can be prevented if good hand hygiene and other cost-effective practices are followed.
In its newGlobal report on infection prevention and control, the WHO called on all countries to increase their investment in IPC programmes to ensure quality of care and patient and health workers’ safety. “This will not only protect their populations, increased investment in IPC has also demonstrated to improve health outcomes and reduce health-care costs and out-of-pocket expenses,” the report said.
WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many challenge and gaps in IPC in all regions and countries, including those which had the most advanced IPC programmes. “It has also provided an unprecedented opportunity to take stock of the situation and rapidly scale up outbreak readiness and response through IPC practices as well as strengthening IPC programmes across the health system. Our challenge now is to engure that all countries are able to allocate the human resources, supplies and infrastructures this requires,” he said.
The new WHO report provides the first-ever global situation analysis of how IPC programmes are being implemented in countries around the world including regional and country focuses. The report highlights the harm to patients and health care workers caused by HAIs and antimicrobial resistance. It also also addresses the impact and cost effectiveness of infection prevention and control programmes and the strategies and resources available to countries to improve them.
- Out of every 100 patients in acute care hospital, seven patients in high income countries (HICs) and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMC) will acquires atleast one HAI during their hospital stay.
- Up to 30% of patients in intensive care can be affected by HAI, with an incidence that is two to 20 times higher in LMICs than in HIC
- Approximately one in four (23.6%) of all hospital-treated sepsis cases are health care-associated Almost half (48.7%) of all cases of sepsis with organ dysfunction treated in adult intensive care units are hospital-acquired
- Among hospitalized confirmed OOVID-19 patients, up to 41% were infected in health care settings
- The prevalence of infection among health workers váried from 0.3% to 43.3%
- WHO estimated that between 80 000 and 180 000 health care workers lost their lives to COVID-19 globally
- The percentage of countries having a national IPC programme remained relatively stable between 2017-18 (64.5%) and 2021-22 (61.3%). But there was significant increase in the percentage of countries that appointed atleast a trained IPC focal point (21% vs 72.6%; p<0.001).
- Shortage of PPE required to provide care to COVID-19 patients (surgical masks, respirators, gloves, face shields, goggles and gowns), with only 20% of primary facilities and 27% of hospitals having all items available for staff
KEY DIRECTIONS AND PRIORITIES
- Political commitment and policies to scale up and enforce the core components of IPC programmes and the related minimum requirements, including through sustained financing, legal framework and accreditation systems
- IPC capacity building and creation of IPC expertise as a clinical and public health specialty, including IPC training and continuous education across different levels and health disciplines and career pathways for IPC professionals. Embedding IPC within all clinical pathways is critical to influence the quality of health care delivery
- Development of systems to monitor, report, and act on key indicator data. This should include surveillance of HAI and emerging sentinel pathogens, monitoring a range of IPC and WASH indicators, and efficient management of the supply chain.