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About 7.5 lakh deaths a year in LMICs could be prevented by infection control: Lancet Study

Updated on: 24 May,2024 12:10 PM IST  |  New Delhi
mid-day online correspondent |

These measures included hand hygiene, regular cleaning and sterilisation of equipment in healthcare facilities, along with providing access to safe drinking water, effective sanitation and paediatric vaccines, researchers said

About 7.5 lakh deaths a year in LMICs could be prevented by infection control: Lancet Study

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About 7.5 lakh deaths a year in LMICs could be prevented by infection control: Lancet Study

An analysis that is part of a four-paper series published in The Lancet journal suggests that by enhancing strategies that prevent infections, antimicrobial resistance (AMR)-related mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) might be avoided annually by almost 7.5 lakh deaths. According to the researchers, these precautions included administering paediatric immunisations, ensuring that healthcare facilities have clean, sterile hands, and regularly cleaning and sterilising their equipment.

According to the estimates of the multinational study team, bacterial illnesses account for one out of every eight deaths worldwide each year. Approximately 77 lakh deaths are linked to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To meet ambitious and doable goals for combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the authors urged assistance for the provision of sustainable access to antibiotics, a PTI report says.

"Access to effective antibiotics is essential to patients worldwide. A failure to provide these antibiotics puts us at risk for not meeting the UN sustainable development goals on child survival and health ageing," said series co-author, Iruka Okeke of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Okeke said that effective antibiotics prolong lives, reduce disabilities, limit healthcare costs and enable other life-saving medical actions such as surgery.

"However, antimicrobial resistance is on the rise - accelerated by inappropriate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic - threatening the backbone of modern medicine and already leading to deaths and disease which would have once been prevented," said Okeke. The modelling study carried out for the compilation of the papers suggests that current infection prevention strategies can avoid mortality linked to antimicrobial resistance.

The authors discovered that by enhancing infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities—including improved hand hygiene and routine cleaning and sterilisation of equipment—up to 3.37 lakh fatalities annually may be prevented. They discovered that by ensuring that everyone has access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation in public areas, almost 2.5 lakh deaths may be prevented annually.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that by introducing additional vaccinations, including the RSV vaccine for pregnant women, and boosting the distribution of particular paediatric vaccines, such as the pneumococcal vaccine, which helps protect against pneumonia and meningitis, 1.82 lakh fatalities annually might be prevented. "Our findings highlight how public health actions to prevent infections in the first place should be prioritised as a strategy to tackle AMR as these methods have the potential to drastically reduce the number of deaths from AMR-associated infections," said co-author Yewande Alimi of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"If we can focus on improving infection control methods, water and sanitation and vaccination in LMICs then it should be possible to reduce the number of deaths linked with AMR by 10 per cent by 2030," said Alimi. Along with preventing infections in the first place, the authors also looked at evidence for preventing resistance emerging in bacteria.

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

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

(With Inputs from PTI)

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