Compared to Western Europe, HAI rates in the CEE countries are high. Not only the hospitals, but primarily the national hygiene associations are faced with numerous challenges. With Prof. Rossitza Vatcheva-Dobrevska, President of the Bulgarian Association for Prevention and Infection Control BulNoso spoke Carola Timmel.
Prof. Vatcheva-Dobrevska, healthcare associated infections in the CEE countries are relatively high. Let’s take for example the figures of Clostridium difficile infections in Europe (published in a Lancet survey), Toxin positive cases in Bulgaria – 22 percent, in Slovenia 20 %, in Poland 39%, in Austria 16%, in the Netherlands 6 %). How BulNoso is dealing with the problem of HAI, and what are the biggest challenges at the moment?
I shall begin by emphasizing the following point: Those who access the health care system for illness or injury are expecting care and treatment, not additional illness and complications. In reality, however, the situation is often different. The Bulgarian Association for Prevention and Infection Control is confronted with many problems that make necessary a series of measures: the strengthening of the Infection Control system through education and training of Infection Control Nurses (ICNs) and doctors (ICDs) is one of them. One of our focuses is to involve more and more dental specialists in the Infection Control Training system. Another important issue is continuing to bundle the approaches for HAI prevention standard implementation with focus on hemodialysis setting and CLABSI reduction.
What are the aims for 2020 with regard to AMR and HAI figures?
We want to develop and implement in our training programs a section relating to the new emerging type of resistance like carbapenem-resistant Entrobacteriaceae. One of our main activities is expanding the hospital network to develop Clostridium difficile diagnostic and reduce the incidence of overall Clostridium difficile Associated Disease (CDAD) cases. Hand hygiene of course is also an important concern to us – we want to maintain the behavior changes of medical specialists concerning hand hygiene and outbreak prevention.
How important is the international cooperation in combating AMR and HAI, and in which way Bulgaria is involved?
Among the last international activities it is important to mention that BulNoso started and is coordinating the Second National Hand Hygiene Campaign 2015-2017, initiated Save Lives: Clean your hands activities, 5th May activities on local and national level and a See Your Hands-campaign in 2016. Furthermore we try to be part of important international and European wide conferences and we appreciate co-operations with institutions such as the Semmelweis Foundation.