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Hospital-acquired infections e-platform available in 2025, officials tell CNA

A special electronic platform for recording hospital-acquired infections is expected to be operational for the first time in Cyprus by the end of 2025, Director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health, Elizabeth Constantinou, has told CNA.

She noted that at the moment there is no continuous surveillance of hospital-acquired infections at a central level, but there is an indicative recording of data, in relation to antimicrobial resistance in hospitals, that are registered in special platforms at the World Health Organization.

Referring to the European data, as recorded in the latest report of the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), which place Cyprus in the top positions in relation to hospital-acquired infections, but also in relation to antimicrobial resistance, Constantinou said that some data are kept by hospitals in Cyprus, which are related to antimicrobial resistance and are registered in special platforms at the World Health Organization.

However, she noted that although some recording is done, it is not thorough, since, as she explained, not all hospitals are obliged to participate and provide data on their infections.

Changing the way hospital infections are managed

According to the Medical Services Director, planning has been done so that in 2025 "the way of managing hospital infections changes", as it will become mandatory for all hospitals to record them on a special electronic platform.

Constantinou said that in the framework of the Ministry of Health's effort to monitor in a better way hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance, actions have been planned following recommendations by the ECDC, which were put forward in writing since a visit to Cyprus by ECDC representatives last year.

Asked about the ECDC recommendations in relation to the issue, the Director of Medical Services said that a lot of actions are being initiated and noted that a training programme has already started in collaboration with the nursing education sector, in order to train nurses from the private and the public sector and get certification in relation to the management of hospital-acquired infections.

She added that the programme started on May 8 and will be completed in the autumn and that a second round of training will be conducted due to demand and interest.

Furthermore, she said that the renewal of all the guidelines for the prevention of hospital-acquired infections has already started since last year, and the first eight are already being completed within the next few weeks.

Deterioration in infections indicators

In relation to the ECDC study, which places Cyprus in the top positions in terms of hospital-acquired infections, Constantinou said that this study is conducted every three years with the participation of Cyprus, explaining that the latest report shows a "deterioration" compared to the previous one.

She noted, however, that all countries are recording a deterioration in the indicators due to the pandemic.

Asked how many recorded infections are hospital-acquired and which are the most common, Constantinou said that "infections circulating in hospitals are not recorded", to further note, however, that "microbes are recorded through blood cultures".

No organised continuous surveillance system in place

Infectious Diseases Epidemiological Surveillance and Control Unit officer, Clinical Microbiologist, Markella Markou, told CNA that there is no organised system for the continuous surveillance of hospital-acquired infections in Cyprus.

She explained that this is why a proposal was made by the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health to create an electronic platform, noting that this proposal has been put forward in the framework of Cyprus' Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Responding to a question on how this platform will work, Markou said that the purpose of the platform is for the Ministry to collect data from hospitals - public and private - on hospital-acquired infections.

"The end of year 2025 is the milestone for the implementation of the platform," Markou pointed out.

In addition, she told CNA that "continuous surveillance is a big investment and a very time-consuming process", adding that "it is impossible for all hospital-acquired infections to be continuously monitored".

"The platform will help hospitals to carry out their surveillance electronically so that this data can be monitored by the Ministry of Health," she added, noting that there has to be surveillance.

(Source: CNA)

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