The World Health Organization (WHO) last week released a draft of a new global strategy on infection prevention and control (IPC).
The draft strategy, developed in response to a World Health Assembly resolution, aims to address global gaps in IPC that have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing burden of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It focuses on IPC in any setting where healthcare is delivered and is based on the principles of clean and safe care as a human right.
"Having active IPC programmes in place is a proven effective approach to protect patients, health and care workers and visitors to health care facilities by preventing avoidable infections acquired during the provision of health services, including those caused by antimicrobial-resistant and epidemic- and pandemic-prone pathogens," the document states.
According to data provided to the WHO by 166 countries, approximately 1 in 10 countries do not have any IPC programs or operational plans, while 1 in 4 countries has a program that has not been fully implemented. Those gaps prompted a World Health Assembly resolution in May that called on Member States to improve IPC at the national, sub-national, and facility levels and asked WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, to develop a global action plan.
The three primary objectives of the draft strategy are to prevent infections in healthcare, to ensure that IPC programs are in place and implemented in accordance with the WHO's IPC core components, and to coordinate IPC activities with other areas and sectors. The country- and stakeholder-driven strategy calls for governments to demonstrate political commitment to IPC and provide funding for active IPC programs, to provide IPC education to healthcare workers across the entire health education system, to establish systems for regular data collection and HAI surveillance, and to promote IPC awareness.