- Patients are exposed to infectious risks when they receive care in healthcare facilities, especially when they undergo invasive treatments and procedures.
- Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) impact patients, their family members, healthcare personnel, and healthcare facilities. They are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and increased healthcare costs.
- An infection is frequently considered an HAI if it appears ≥48 hours after admission.
- Infection prevention and control (IPC) is an essential, though often under-recognized and under-supported, part of the infrastructure of health care.
- The IPC minimum recommended practice in healthcare situations is the exercise of standard precautions (SP) by employees, patients and visitors, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status.
- The recommended elements of SP include the appropriate practice/use of the following: hand hygiene; respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette; personal protective equipment; environmental cleaning; waste disposal; prevention of needle and sharp injuries; handling of linen and patient care equipment; and, cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of equipment.
- Failure to apply infection control measures favours the spread of pathogens, with healthcare settings acting as amplifiers of disease during outbreaks – with an impact on both hospital and community health.
- The emergence of life-threatening infections such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), viral haemorrhagic fevers (for example, Ebola and Marburg viral infections) and multidrug resistant organisms (for example muti-drug resistant tuberculosis and methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) highlighted the urgent need for efficient infection control practices in health care.
- There are four major types of HAI, all related to invasive or surgical procedures. They are:
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infection;
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia;
- Surgical site infection;
- Catheter related bloodstream infection;
- The main routes of transmission are contact transmission (divided into: direct transmission and indirect transmission); droplet transmission; airborne transmission; common vehicle transmission; vector borne transmission.
- If outbreaks hit healthcare settings without a culture of safe practices, the risk of disruption to the healthcare system can be high.
- A rapid response to threats of public health concern requires early warning. Healthcare settings are in the front-line of containment and response, and the hospital-based and public health surveillance systems must be formally and efficiently linked to assure such early notice.
- In line with the International Health Regulations (2005) and the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED 2010) WHO Viet Nam is providing technical assistance with the following activities:
- Supporting the acquisition and distribution of IPC equipment;
- Supporting the development of IPC associations, including the development of websites for information sharing;
- Building capacity at regional, provincial and district level through training in healthcare epidemiology and disease surveillance techniques;
- Establishing mechanisms to support compliance with IPC practices
- In addition to these core activities, WHO is also working closely with the Ministry of Health in a number of other IPC-related areas, including:
- Establishing a multidisciplinary committee for IPC;
- Supporting MOH to build and strengthen IPC preparedness and response to epidemics and pandemic threats in a number of areas;
- Piloting the establishment of antimicrobial resistance surveillance;
- Creating opportunities to build new partnerships, share expertise, develop skills and improve IPC capacity at all levels of the healthcare-system.