AKU - News and Events
News 2008
1.4 million suffering from hospital infections worldwide
Infection risk 20 times higher in developing countries

January 7, 2008

Infection is the most important complication happening to a patient admitted in a hospital. At any time, over 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from infections acquired in hospital. Between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of patients admitted to modern hospitals in the developed world acquire one or more infections. The risk of health care-associated infection in developing countries is 2 to 20 times higher than in developed countries.

To discuss the present day practices in Infection Control, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi organised a seminar of Continuing Medical Education on ‘Infection Control in Anaesthesia, Surgery and Critical Care Areas.'

Following the theme “Are we doing it right or can we improve it?,” experts highlighted the risks of infections in hospitals and prevention strategies. “Infection can be the principle cause of symptoms or be responsible for a series of complication to the primary disease by causing secondary or super infections,” Professor Qamar ul Hoda, Department of Anaesthesia informed an audience of physicians and specialists.

Every year, hundreds of millions of patients worldwide contract infections during the course of their treatment for other diseases, which causes complications in the delivery of health care. As a result, some patients become more seriously ill than they would otherwise have been. Consequences are prolonged stays in hospital, long-term disability and death. As well as the human cost, health care systems carry a massive additional financial burden.

Patients admitted to critical areas such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU), high dependency unit or undergoing an operation are more vulnerable because of having poor resistance to infection and their proximity to other patients with critical illnesses. Poor Infection control can arise due to the nature of primary disease or major surgery or long duration central lines and indwelling catheters which are crucial for patient management.

Speakers from different specialties including Anaesthesia, Surgery, Medicine, Infection Control and Nursing highlighted the various aspects of international standards and guidelines for preventing and treating the different types of infections. A multidisciplinary approach and an effective infection control programme including continuous education of health care workers, active surveillance, audit and implementation of simple preventive measures which can reduce infection were emphasised.

Aga Khan University regularly organises CME seminars and workshops for referring physicians. These programmes are designed to provide a current and practical update on the management of medical problems faced by primary care physicians and specialists.