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Patient safety is ‘vital issue’ for Middle East hospitals, say experts

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, August 22 - 2004 @ 12:57

The Congress will focus on the critical area of infection control in hospitals and public healthcare facilities in the region, and will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel from the 11th – 13th September.

The growth in the number of hospitals in the region is set to continue into the foreseeable future, and their increasing sophistication has brought immediate benefits to patients and families in the Middle Eastern. However, this rapid expansion has also raised awareness among healthcare professionals of the need to stay ahead of the risk of hospital-acquired infections.

“Hospital acquired infections, such as Methicyllin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are often referred to as ‘Superbugs’ and pose a serious threat to both hospitalised patients and the broader community;” said John Hassett, IIR Middle East exhibitions director, healthcare division, the organizers of the congress.

“These bacteria are a cause for major concern in even the most sophisticated countries and healthcare facitilies in the modern and developing world as they cause serious infections, such as surgical wound infections and pneumonia, and are resistant to ordinary antibiotics,” he added.

Cross infections and ‘Superbugs’ have become a major issue in other parts of the world. Britain, for example, has been labeled ‘the MRSA capital of Europe’, with an estimated 5,000 people dying every year due to infections picked up in hospitals, the majority of which are thought to be caused by MRSA.

This has spurred Middle Eastern health authorities to take measures to ensure that the same situation does not arise within the region. Events like the Patient Safety Congress offer an opportunity to share and implement best practice infection control policies.

The cause and development of MRSA
Often referred to simply as ‘staph’, MRSA is a bacterium that is commonly, and harmlessly, carried on the skin or in the noses of healthy people. It is one of the commonest causes of minor skin infections such as pimples and boils and can easily be treated without antibiotics, or through the use of mild medications.

Hospital environments render patients particularly susceptible to ‘Superbug’ infections for a variety of reasons. These include the high level of close interpersonal contact, lack of careful handwashing by doctors, nurses and therapists, the density of people in hospital beds at any given time and the diversity of infections these patients may have.
Severe infection usually develops in more vulnerable sectors of the community such as people who are hospitalised for long periods, intensive care patients, the elderly and the frail. Patients with open wounds such as bedsores and burns, those with in-situ tubes such as urinary and intravenous (IV) catheters and stomas, post-surgery patients and those taking extended courses of broad spectrum antibiotics have a far greater risk of contracting MRSA infections.

While MRSA mainly affects hospitalised patients, it can also cause illness in the outside community and is often associated with recent antibiotic use, sharing contaminated items, having active skin diseases and living in overcrowded conditions.

“It is incumbent upon health care workers and administrators to ensure that good hygiene practices are implemented within their facilities; the aim of the Infection Control conference is to ensure that health workers at all levels gain a better knowledge of the issues involved and to provide practical solutions in their hospitals for the setting-up of infection control policies based on best practice,” commented Hassett.

The event brings together the world’s leading authorities on infection control including Moira Walker, CIC, Honorary Secretary of the International Federation of Infection Control; Robert Spence, Chairman, Hospital Infection Society, UK; and Prof. Ossama Rasslan, Director International Federation of Infection Control; as well as a number of noted regional experts.

“The response from clinicians and administrators in the region has been tremendous and we expect the conference to be a sell-out,” added Hassett.

The Infection Control conference is accredited with the maximum 15 hours’ continuing medical education (CME) credits by the American Academy of Continuing Medical Education, the world’s leading accreditation body, which is recognised in 96 countries.

“Becton Dickinson and Company will be participating in the Patient Safety Congress: Infection Control, as it provides an excellent platform to help increasing the awareness of nosocomial infections and will provide healthcare professionals the right tools to reduce and eliminate these incidents,” said a spokesperson Becton Dickinson and Company, the Platinum Sponsor for the event.

Other sponsors of the event are Johnson and Johnson, Advanced Sterilisation Products & Ethicon Products Worldwide, and Arabian Mill Trading.

The conference is supported by the International Federation of Infection Control, European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, ECRI, the Ministry of Health of the UAE and the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services.

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Sunday, August 22- 2004 @ 12:57 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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