The problem of HAI and AMR is a hot topic in the CEE region, says Veronika Kovalová, International Product Manager at Biomedica.
Mrs. Kovalová, you are traveling a lot in the CEE countries – what are the specific challenges in this region?
What I want to emphasize, is the fact that the problem of HAI is not only a challenge for the health care system, but also for the socio-economical sector. Without political will and corresponding actions and considerations, this issue cannot be solved. The necessary awareness is not yet completely developed and the importance of preventative solutions is being underestimated.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, of course. I continually meet people who are extremely engaged. Dr. Biljana Carevic (Hospital Epidemiologist Serbia) is a great example. She is well connected with other CEE countries and active in the fields of education and training – not only in Serbia but also in other Balkan countries. This sort of awareness is an integral part of the fight against HAI.
Certainly a very challenging task?
Absolutely. Particularly because there are still hospitals which deny the existence of HAI. The fact that every country has its specific problem areas, aggravates the situation. Moreover, the general knowledge regarding HAI is lacking in various degrees according to the region. It is perhaps not incorrect to state that the problem of awareness is extremer in CEE countries
But also here we observe an enormous backlog demand for knowledge. HAI and AMR are still underexposed issues.
Yes. That’s why awareness campaigns are so important. Biomedica is now involved in a large-scale campaign (“No to Bug”; “Nein zum Keim”) in Lower Austria (NÖ Holding). This campaign draws attention to the fact that hand hygiene is enormously important. Besides the numerous disinfectant dispensers in the entrance areas of the 27 hospitals, the patients and their relatives can find easily understandable information on the display screens regarding the connection between hand hygiene and the risk of acquiring an infection. The aim of our program is to inform people about the benefits of prevention as soon as they enter the hospital.
How do you see these issues developing in the future?
This is just the beginning. Our goal is to give the customer a sense of security. This comes from knowing that we at Biomedica offer complete solutions which are founded on the basis of a consistent partnership and mutual trust.
Last question – What are you expecting from the 2nd CEE Semmelweis Conference in March 2017. What can or could accomplish this event?
For me it is important that the participants can network, exchange their experience, and learn from each other. I strongly believe in the positive impact of the imitation effect. When hygienists and other experts see, that hospital XY has made great progress in the reduction of HAI, the wish to achieve this aim arises. Personal contact is the best way to promote solutions in how to cope with the big challenges in regards to this delicate and important issue.
With 13 offices in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and a team of 250 professionals, Biomedica is a leading distributor of medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics, products for life sciences, Biomedica Immunoassays and Clinical IT. Founded in Vienna more than 35 years ago, Biomedica has grown into a multi-national company, still privately held with the main shareholders involved as full-time executives.