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Society

Another Greek Health Dilemma: People Getting Hospital Infections

ATHENS – Adding to public health worries during the COVID-19 pandemic, Greek hospitals are seeing patients becoming infected by being there, the government setting up a program trying to curb the problem.

A network of 10 public hospitals will work together to improve procedures to prevent patients from getting so-called hopital-acquired infections (HAIs), comprising teams of experts from different organizations and health facilities

Their task is to find methods to slow HAIs and antimicrobial resistance, as well as procedures for responding to outbreaks more efficiently, said Kathimerini.

Funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, a training program for nurses will be included, as will the development of a monitoring agency that will be responsible for reporting and tracking outbreaks at a national level.

The newly-established Organization for the Quality of Healthcare and the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Research (CLEO) is behind the project, finding that antimicrobial resistance is one of the three greatest threats to human health, while 37,000 people die each year from HAIs.fections in Europe. 

CLEO reported that Every year in Greece, HAIs are responsible for the death of 3,000 people and cost the health care system some 1.2 billion euros ($1.45 billion) and that it is most preventable by simple tasks such as washing hands.

Among the reasons for HAIs, the report said, is that hospitals don't always follow hygiene protocols that should seem to be self-evident in an atmosphere where people are being treated and need to be protected from germs and microbes.

“An equally important factor is the use of invasive instruments (urinary catheters, ventilators and central venous catheters,” the group said.

It added that, “The most important factor is the lack of compliance of the healthcare professionals to simple standard practices, such as compliance with hand hygiene practices or with practices concerning the insertion and maintenance of invasive instruments,” such as catheters.

It said that only 33 percent of staff typically wash their hands enough while treating patients and that there isn't enough training on hygiene, leading to the problem continuing endlessly.

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