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Around 7.5 lakh deaths a year in low- and middle-income countries could be prevented through infection control: Lancet study

These measures included hand hygiene, regular cleaning and sterilization of equipment in healthcare facilities, as well as providing access to clean water, effective sanitation and pediatric vaccines, the researchers said.

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An analysis that is part of a series of four articles published in the journal The Lancet suggests that, by improving strategies that prevent infections, mortality related to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in low- and middle-income countries ( LMIC) nearly 7.5 lakh deaths could be prevented annually. According to researchers, these precautions included administering pediatric vaccines, ensuring healthcare facilities had clean and sterile hands, and regularly cleaning and sterilizing their equipment.

According to estimates by the multinational study team, bacterial diseases account for one in eight deaths worldwide each year. About 77 lakh deaths are linked to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To achieve ambitious and achievable targets to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the authors urged assistance to provide sustainable access to antibiotics, according to a PTI report.

“Access to effective antibiotics is essential for patients around the world. If these antibiotics are not provided, we risk missing the UN Sustainable Development Goals on child survival and healthy aging,” said co-author of the study. series, Iruka Okeke, from the University of Ibadan. , Nigeria. Okeke said effective antibiotics prolong life, reduce disabilities, limit healthcare costs and enable other life-saving medical actions such as surgery.

“However, antimicrobial resistance is increasing, accelerated by the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening the backbone of modern medicine and causing deaths and illnesses that would previously have been prevented,” Okeke said. The modeling study conducted for the compilation of the articles suggests that current infection prevention strategies can prevent mortality related to antimicrobial resistance.

The authors found that by improving infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities, including better hand hygiene and routine cleaning and sterilization of equipment, up to 3.37 lakh deaths can be prevented annually. They found that by ensuring everyone has access to safe water and adequate sanitation in public areas, nearly 2.5 lakh deaths can be prevented annually.

Additionally, researchers found that by introducing additional vaccines, including the RSV vaccine for pregnant women, and boosting the distribution of pediatric-specific vaccines, such as the pneumococcal vaccine, which helps protect against pneumonia and meningitis, 1, 82 lakh deaths a year. “Our findings highlight how public health actions to prevent infections in the first place should be prioritized as a strategy to address AMR, as these methods have the potential to dramatically reduce the number of deaths from AMR-associated infections,” said the co-author Yewande Alimi. from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“If we can focus on improving infection control methods, water, sanitation and vaccination in low- and middle-income countries, then it should be possible to reduce the number of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance by 10 percent.” percent by 2030,” Alimi said. In addition to preventing infections in the first place, the authors also analyzed evidence for preventing the emergence of resistance in bacteria.

Antibiotic stewardship (reducing antibiotic use when benefit to patients is limited) is thought to reduce selection pressure on bacteria to develop resistance; however, research is lacking in this area. “The currently limited evidence on the impact of antibiotic stewardship on AMR in low- and middle-income countries does not mean that it is not a key intervention that should be focused on, but rather makes it difficult to anticipate the effects of antibiotic stewardship in those countries.

“We urgently need studies that investigate impact to help inform future policies and interventions appropriate to different contexts,” said co-author Esmita Charani of the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

(With input from PTI)

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