BCIU hosted a panel discussion on the margins of UNGA in partnership with 3M Health Care on “Reducing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) by Practicing Better Infection Prevention & Control (IPC)”, which looked at the impact and rise in antibiotic-resistant infections during the first year of COVID-19 and effective infection prevention and control measures that can be utilized in national AMR/IPC plans.

Keynote Remarks from:

  • Ms. Bich Le, President, Medical Solutions Division, 3M
  • Dr. Michael Osterholm, Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health & Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota

Panel 1: AMR Status and Way Forward Amid the Pandemic

  • Dr. Silvia Bertagnolio, Unit Head, Antimicrobial Resistance, World Health Organization
  • Dr. John Pournoor, President, Government Analytica
  • Dr. Fernando Ortega Riosvelasco, Head of the Epidemiology, Infection Prevention and Control Department, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez
  • (Moderator) Mr. Ed Kaleta, Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs, 3M

Panel Description:

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a major threat to human health around the world. The first comprehensive assessment of the global burden of AMR for 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen–drug combinations in 204 countries and territories in 2019 puts the burden of disease at 4.95 million (3.62–6.57) deaths associated with bacterial AMR. Before this study, AMR was projected to cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050. Now projections may be even higher. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled the ongoing AMR global crisis and control practices in overwhelmed health systems, and diversion of human and financial resources away from monitoring and responding to AMR threats. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show an alarming increase in resistant infections starting during hospitalization, growing an overall 15% (a range of 13% to 78% increase) from 2019 to 2020 among seven pathogens. Countries need to reassess their approach and redouble their efforts to reclaim the gains they had. In this panel we discussed the national challenges facing Ministries of Health and how best to implement sound strategies laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other multilateral and international organizations.

Panel 2: AMR Reduction through Better Infection Prevention and Control

  • Dr. Bernard Camins, Director, Infection Prevention Program; Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine, Mt. Sinai
  • Dr. Pilar Ramón-Pardo, Team Lead, Antimicrobial Resistance Special Program, PAHO
  • Dr. Shanina Knighton, Executive Director, Center for Infection Prevention & Control Research, Practice & Innovation, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)
  • (Moderator) Dr. Ron Silverman, Chief Medical Officer, 3M Health Care

Panel Description:

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its first ever global report on infection prevention and control in May 2022, exposing the numerous gaps in IPC globally, including areas with the most advanced programs. Out of every 100 patients in acute-care hospitals, seven patients in high-income countries and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries will acquire at least one health care-associated infection (HAI), and astounding, on average, one in 10 affected patients will die from it. Additionally, greater than 24% of patients affected by health care-associated sepsis and over 52% of those patients treated in an intensive care unit die each year. Notwithstanding, when infections are resistant to antibiotics, deaths are increased two-to-three times, showing the enormous capacity and realistic burden that AMR puts on the world’s health systems. “It has also provided an unprecedented opportunity to take stock of the situation and rapidly scale up outbreak readiness and response through IPC practices, as well as strengthening IPC programs across the health system. Our challenge now is to ensure that all countries are able to allocate the human resources, supplies and infrastructures this requires,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General. That challenge has noticeably been experienced worldwide. A WHO evaluation on the implementation status of national IPC programs recorded no progress on the percentage of countries that have a national program between studies in 2017 and 2021, and only four of the 106 assessed countries in 2021 had all minimum requirements for IPC in place. From the point-of-care perspective, a comparable inadequacy is apparent as only 15.2% of health care facilities met the minimum IPC requirements, according to another WHO survey in 2019. As the Director General shared, there is great room for improvement on basic practices of IPC and implementation of national plans. Panelists how health agencies can partner with other stakeholders to promote better IPC and strategic guidance for in-county implementers.

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