Published On: Wed, Jun 13th, 2018

Save Lives Clean Your Hands

washing handsGREAT BAY — Sint Maarten (DCOMM) — According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health care-associated infections, infections acquired during delivery of health care, are common and are a risk factor for developing sepsis but it can be prevented.

In review of the existing reports and theories, the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), from an awareness and public information perspective, emphasizes the need to routinely clean your hands, simply wash hands in every action and step in order to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases.

Very young and especially premature babies are very vulnerable since their immune system is not fully developed and at such an age they are not vaccinated. Therefore, parents should be aware of people wanting to cuddle or kiss their baby while they have a cold sore; or persons who would like to look at the baby while they are coughing and sneezing, or hold the baby without proper hand washing.

Effective hand hygiene plays a key role. The WHO calls on health facilities to prevent health care-associated sepsis through hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC) actions/protocol.

Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide. At the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017, Member States adopted a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

Sepsis is a complication that arises when the human body mounts an indiscriminate, and overt, response to an infection. Sepsis is a medical emergency. If not diagnosed and treated early, sepsis can lead to irreversible tissue damage, septic shock, multiple organ failure and potentially death.

Septic shock is a severe type of sepsis in which the circulatory, cellular, and metabolic abnormalities are associated with a greater risk of mortality than with sepsis alone.

Approximately 31 million new sepsis cases occur each year, resulting in 6 million deaths annually, according to the WHO.

The occurrence, frequency, and fatality of sepsis are determined by complex interplaying factors including the host immune system, causative pathogen, timely diagnosis, and access to quality care.

Most sepsis occurs as a complication of common preventable infections in the community (community acquired infection). It also frequently results from infections acquired in healthcare settings, especially among immunocompromised patients.

Healthcare acquired infections are often resistant to antibiotics. This makes the management of these infections challenging and are often associated with poor patient outcome; and higher economic burden.

Sepsis is frequently undetected and/or misdiagnosed, during initial onset when it is effectively treatable. Increasing awareness of the clinical manifestations of sepsis in the community, building capacity for early detection, appropriate timely management, and reporting, are some of the major challenges facing effective prevention and control of sepsis.

Persons seeking additional information can contact CPS at telephone numbers: 542-1570 or 542-1222.