Only 15 percent of the world’s health facilities fully meet the requirements necessary to counter the spread of epidemics, and for every 100 patients admitted to the hospital, 7 in high-income countries and 15 in low- and middle-income countries contract a hospital infection. 

Disturbing data that, after the Covid-19 pandemic, turn on a wake-up call that should not be underestimated. This is the finding of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Global report on infection prevention and control,” the first global survey on infection prevention and control in health care facilities, released recently. 

The question that arises spontaneously, in light of these data and the parallelism with the reality we have experienced in the past two years, is: how can we intervene? 

The answer is always “prevention”, but it requires a more detailed analysis, which we at AMIL Care want to share in this article. 

WHO report, let’s analyze some data

The WHO-led study looked at hospital infection prevention as well as control programs and practices, known by the acronym IPC (Infection prevention and control), which are essential components of health care safety in all health care systems around the world. 

The analysis found that: out of 100 hospitalized patients, 7 patients in high-income countries and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries will contract at least one health care-associated infection (HAI) during their hospital stay. On average, 1 in 10 patients will die from an HAI. People in intensive care and newborns are particularly at risk, with rates as high as 30 percent. 

To offer another perspective, again from the report’s data, we know that 24 percent of patients with healthcare-associated sepsis and 52.3 percent of those treated in an intensive care unit die each year. 

The impact of infections on people’s lives is shocking, finally clearly visible, and leaves no room for misunderstanding.  

How is prevention evaluated?

In order to evaluate the prevention programs adopted by health care facilities, WHO used the “IPCAF” tool, which includes 81 indicators divided into the eight sections that make up the IPC: 

  • IPC programs; 
  • presence of IPC guidelines; 
  • education and training; 
  • health surveillance programs; 
  • use of multimodal strategies; 
  • monitoring, IPC practice audits and feedback; 
  • workload, staff, and bed occupancy; 
  • status of environments and equipment dedicated to IPC.

The study covered approximately 4440 health care facilities in 81 countries and found that globally, 50.7 percent of facilities had an excellent IPC audit score, 29.8 percent intermediate, 17.5 percent a sufficient score, and 2 percent completely unsatisfactory.  

Comparing this data with surveys also conducted by WHO, the percentage of countries that have a national IPC program has not improved: in 2021-22 only 4 of the 106 countries assessed (3.8 percent) have all the minimum requirements for IPC in place at the national level, and only 15.2 percent of health facilities meet all the minimum requirements. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted many challenges and gaps on the issue of infection prevention and control in all regions and countries, even those that had more advanced programs,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in the attached study. “It also provided an unprecedented opportunity to take stock and rapidly scale up epidemic preparedness and response. Our challenge now is to ensure that all countries can allocate the necessary human resources, supplies, and infrastructure.” 

Prevention: a necessary investment

In addition to focusing on the harm to patients and health workers caused by infections and antimicrobial resistance in health care organizations (HIOs), the report also examines the impact of infection prevention and control programs and the strategies available for countries to improve them. 

Identifying and recognizing a problem is certainly the first step to improvement, but not the only one. Indeed, it is necessary to accompany the state-of-the-art snapshot with a broad perspective able to intervene in a timely and continuous manner, without being unprepared. 

This is because, it is known, “Prevention is better than cure.” The slogan, which accompanies health care around the world, holds within it not only an effective communication message, but the most important strategy for containing the problems known today and those that may come in the future. A lesson we have all learned by now, “thanks” to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Prevention strategies for hospital infections: the AMIL Care response

In this broad perspective, which embraces the present and incorporates the future, AMIL Care Italia represents a point of reference thanks to the high degree of technology and innovation of the products developed and the value system that inspires its activity. 

In the area of room sanitization, AMIL Care’s Medisystem system, patented and certified according to current standards, combines automated dispensing devices with disinfectant chemicals also developed by the company. 

Device automation enables high-level disinfection cycles with “no touch” technology, along with validated decontamination protocols in critical areas and active on major multi-resistant pathogens, even in the hardest-to-reach places. Thanks to a built-in tank and fine-tuning, the system disinfects environments by delivering hydrogen peroxide in constant quantities and cadence, previously adjusted according to the function to which the environment is dedicated. The standardization and automation of the process allows greater safety and excludes the possibility of human error.  

As an environmentally friendly chemical solution, AMIL Care’s Evolyse product, based on hydrogen peroxide and silver salts, is an excellent solution for disinfection. Its advantages certainly include its effectiveness on microorganisms of all kinds: bacteria, viruses, spores, fungi, tuberculosis, and biofilms. By combining the Medisystem with hydrogen peroxide products such as Evolyse, the fight against hospital infections becomes possible.