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24 May 2024

There's an Urgent Call to Strengthen Infection Control Worldwide

There's an Urgent Call to Strengthen Infection Control Worldwide
Today, there is an urgent need to shift our focus to health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) due to the overwhelming burden of preventable diseases and infections. These regions often face significant healthcare challenges, including limited resources, inadequate infrastructure, and high rates of infection.

A groundbreaking study published in The Lancet sheds light on the staggering toll of bacterial infections in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The study underscores the urgent need for enhanced infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to mitigate the devastating impact of preventable deaths, estimated at around 7.5 million annually in LMICs.

The study, which analyzed data from 78 LMICs, identified that a significant number of preventable deaths are linked to infections associated with surgical procedures, childbirth, and bloodstream infections.

Key Measures to Combat Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance

  1. Hand Hygiene and Sterilization: Adhering to the steps of hand hygiene is essential for preventing the spread of infections. Healthcare facilities must ensure regular cleaning and sterilization of equipment to maintain a sterile environment. This is crucial in reducing infections, especially those contracted during medical procedures.
  2. Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation: Ensuring universal access to safe drinking water and effective sanitation in community settings can prevent approximately 250,000 deaths annually. This fundamental public health measure is vital for reducing the incidence of waterborne bacterial infections.
  3. Paediatric Vaccines: Expanding the rollout of vaccines such as pneumococcal vaccines, which protect against pneumonia and meningitis, along with introducing new vaccines like those for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in pregnant women, could save around 182,000 lives each year.
  4. Antibiotic Stewardship: The inappropriate use of antibiotics has accelerated antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which threatens the efficacy of treatments for bacterial infections. Proper antibiotic stewardship, which includes the appropriate selection and use of antibiotics for bacterial infections, is essential in curbing this rising threat.

Understanding what kind of antibiotics treat bacterial infections helps healthcare providers prescribe the best antibiotic for each specific bacterial infection, thereby enhancing treatment outcomes and minimizing resistance.

To achieve substantial improvements in IPC and save millions of lives annually, the following steps are recommended:

Government Initiatives:

  • Public Health Campaigns: Governments should run widespread public health campaigns to educate the population on infection prevention and control measures.
  • Development of Health Infrastructure: Investing in health infrastructure, particularly in rural and underserved areas, is crucial for effective IPC.

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