What We Do › Infection Control
“Germs are a part of nature and we cannot conquer nature, so we know that we will never be able to eradicate hospital-acquired infections. Instead, we have to learn either how to make friends with nature or how to fight it more effectively. Our work with AIHA has taught us how to do that.”
Slava Lyubimenko, chief neonatologist at St. Petersburg City Children’s Hospital No. 1 in St. Petersburg, Russia, who received training through AIHA’s Infection Control Program
While considerable media attention has been focused on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, much less consideration has been given to nosocomial infections. Hospital-acquired infections are a significant problem in healthcare facilities the world over and have widespread negative impact on patient mortality, morbidity, and the overall quality of care. In the transitioning health systems of Eurasia, however, they also represent an enormous and unnecessary drain on already limited resources.
Nosocomial infections are the leading adverse outcome of hospitalization in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with an average hospital stay for surgical procedures lasting 30-55 percent longer there than in the United States. In a hospital setting, communicable diseases can be spread through casual contact among patients, healthcare staff, and visitors with alarming ease—especially if proper infection control practices that are a standard part of evidence-based medicine are not implemented.
A few short months after AIHA established our first hospital-based partnerships, the need to implement comprehensive infection control programs became apparent. The outdated practices being used during the early 1990s had not only an adverse impact on the quality of patient care, but also resulted in a huge drain on already scarce funds. A nosocomial infection was the likely outcome of even the simplest of surgeries, which necessitated longer hospital stays and the extended use of antibiotics. This, in turn, justified large and costly facilities with many beds and the further waste of limited resources. Because infection control emerged as a universal concern at facilities throughout Eurasia at this time, AIHA launched an Infection Control Program to support the changes being made through our healthcare partnerships.
AIHA’s efforts to improve infection control practices are carried out through specific programmatic activities, including:
AIHA Infection Control Initiative
Through its Infection Control Initiative, AIHA and our partners are working to improve the quality of healthcare services in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia by developing institutional and regional infection control programs designed to reduce hospital-acquired infection rates and control antibiotic resistance in microorganisms. Read more...
Infection Control Training Centers
In close collaboration with the Russian Ministry of Health, AIHA established in 1997 the first Infection Control Training Center in the former Soviet Union at the St. Petersburg Medical Academy. Licensed by the Russian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, the facility serves as an epidemiological center of excellence providing training and practical advice to infection control practitioners, hospital epidemiologists, and clinicians in the Russia’s northwest region. In 2001, AIHA opened Infection Control Training Centers in Almaty, Kazakhstan; Kiev, Ukraine; and Tbilisi, Georgia, in cooperation with each country’s Ministry of Health to facilitate improved infection control practices within the hospitals and laboratories. Read more...
Keeping healthcare providers and allied professionals healthy and at work is critical for hospitals and clinics around the globe, but even more so in resource-constrained settings which may face serious issues with maintaining adequate staffing levels. Most AIHA partnerships that focus on clinical care or health professions education also address issues of occupational health as a way to safeguard medical professionals and help ensure service delivery. Read more...
Through our Infection Control initiative, AIHA has been working to assist ministries of health in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to implement interventions that facilitate the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents their hospitals and reference labs. Starting in 1997, our partners at 17 institutions in the region began using WHONET, a Windows-based database software developed for the management of microbiology laboratory data and the analysis of antimicrobial susceptibility test results. Read more...
Laboratory Services Quality Improvement
Microbiology laboratories in transitioning and developing nations are often both severely under-staffed and under-funded. Evidenced-based procedures aren’t always used due, in part, to lack of necessary equipment and supplies, as well as staff who are trained in their use. Test results from these laboratories are neither readily available to healthcare providers, nor reliably accurate. Consequently, inappropriate antibiotics are often selected and administered, which inevitably leads to the increasing global problem of antimicrobial resistance. Read more...
Infection Control Information Resources
Disseminating accurate, timely information rooted in evidence-based practices and sharing successful models and lessons learned plays an important role in AIHA’s strategy for sustainable healthcare programs. For more information on stemming hospital-acquired infections and controlling the spread of antimicrobial resistance, please visit the following links: