Portrait of Dr. Bernhard Küenburg lecturing

CEE – a region with considerable backlog

A symposium on the occasion of the international day of hand hygiene took place on May, 2nd in the festival room of the Austrian Ministry of health. Among the speakers was the president of the Semmelweis Foundation, Dr. Bernhard Küenburg.

Safe Surgical Care – Hand Hygiene for the prevention of postoperative wound infection: This was the title of a symposium in the context of the international day of hand hygiene (May, 5th). The spectrum of the topics was wide: Surveillance (Dr. Elisabeth Presterl), working conditions of hygiene teams (Dr. Alexander Blacky), and many other interesting items.
Dr. Bernhard Küenburg, president of the Semmelweis Foundation used the opportunity to speak about the mission of the Semmelweis Foundation in the CEE region (Central Eastern Europe), which is a region with comparatively high infection rates. The reason therefore is evident: low income per capita, low GNP etc. “It can happen that one is getting the creeps in view of the hygiene conditions in some hospitals“, says Küenburg, who was travelling a lot in the CEE countries in the last years. “Probably we can’t reach a zero percent infection rate, but we must move in this direction. Massive attacks against courageous hygienists are counterproductive and are reminding of Semmelweis”, says Küenburg in reference to the recent hostilities against a young hygienist.

The WHO sees a considerable backlog in the CEE countries and endorses the initiative of the Semmelweis Foundation. Already in 2015 Prof. Didier Pittet from the WHO Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety supported the first Semmelweis CEE Conference on Hospital Hygiene and Patient Safety, and he will do so also in 2017 (March 7th and 8th, in Budapest, Hungary).
“A perfect place with a nice reference to Ignaz Semmelweis. We´re already working on the organisation of this second Conference and we have the intention to make this event (focused on the important factor communication) even more specialist an interactive”, said Küenburg.