The coronavirus pandemic and other disease outbreaks have highlighted the extent to which healthcare facilities can contribute to the spread of infections.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many challenges and gaps in IPC in all regions and countries, including those with the most advanced IPC programs,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
‘An unprecedented opportunity’
Today, out of every 100 patients in acute care hospitals, seven in high-income countries and 15 in low- and middle-income countries will contract at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI) during their hospital stay — one in 10 of whom will die.
Newborns and patients in intensive care are especially at riskthe report reveals, and nearly half of all cases of sepsis with organ dysfunction in adult intensive care units are health-related.
WHO’s first-ever Global Report on Infection Prevention and Control brings together evidence from scientific reports and new data from WHO studies.
“It has also provided an unprecedented opportunity to take stock and rapidly scale outbreak preparedness and response through IPC practices, as well as strengthening IPC programs across the health system,” the WHO chief said.
make a case
The impact of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance on people’s lives is incalculablesays who.
Each year, more than 24 percent of patients with healthcare-related sepsis and 52.3 percent of patients treated in an intensive care unit die.
In addition, the number of deaths increases two to three times if infections are resistant to antimicrobials.
With regional and national focus, the new WHO report provides a situational analysis of how IPC programs are being implemented worldwide†
In addition to addressing the damage that HAIs and antimicrobial resistance cause to patients and health professionals, it also highlights the impact and cost-effectiveness of infection prevention and control programs, as well as the strategies and resources available to states to improve them.
Over the past five years, WHO has conducted global surveys and joint country assessments to assess the implementation status of national IPC programs.
Comparing data from the 2017-18 to 2021-22 surveys, the percentage of countries with a national IPC program has not improved; and in 2021-22, only 3.8 percent of countries had all IPC minimum requirements at the national level.
In healthcare facilities, only 15.2 percent met all IPC minimum requirements, according to a 2019 WHO survey.
Our challenge now is to ensure that all countries are able to allocate the human resources, supplies and infrastructure – WHO chief
However, some encouraging progress has been made with significantly more countries appointing IPC contact points; specific budgets for IPC and curriculum for the training of frontline health professionals; national IPC guidelines and programs for HAI surveillance; and hand hygiene compliance have been identified as key national indicators.
Strongly supported by the WHO and others, many countries are scaling up actions to introduce minimum requirements and core components of IPC programs†
Sustaining and expanding this long-term progress is a critical need that requires urgent attention and investment.
“Our challenge now is to ensure that all countries are able to allocate the necessary human resources, supplies and infrastructure,” said Tedros.
The WHO is calling on every country to encourage investment in IPC programs – not only to protect patients and health professionals, but also to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs and out-of-pocket expenses.