Experts from Western Balkans and Türkiye attend conference on healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance

News story

In a concerted effort to combat healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Belgian EU Presidency on 6-7 May co-hosted a conference at the national public health institute of Belgium, Sciensano, in Brussels. Under the theme ‘One World One Health’, the conference brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, policy-makers, and experts.

HAI_NET meeting
HAI-NET Meeting

The conference included presentations providing insights into the prevalence of HAIs and AMR in European healthcare settings. Discussions also focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on infection rates and the crucial role of digital surveillance in tracking AMR.

The One World One Health approach – emphasising the interconnected nature of human, animal, and environmental health – was also addressed. Sessions focused on surveillance initiatives, antimicrobial stewardship, and infection prevention and control measures.

The HAI-NET network meeting provided a good opportunity for the experts from Western Balkans and Türkiye to connect and stay updated on the newest EU developments in HAIs and AMR.

Patients acquire healthcare-associated infections during their stay in a hospital or other healthcare setting. Although some of these infections can be easily treated, others may more seriously affect patients’ health, increasing their time spent in the hospital and hospital costs, and causing considerable distress to these patients. 

More than 3.5 million cases of HAI are estimated to occur in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) each year, leading to more than 90 000 deaths. HAIs constitute 71% of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics, such as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales. 

It is estimated that up to 50% of HAIs are preventable. The application of infection prevention and control measures in healthcare settings is essential to prevent HAIs.

The Healthcare-Associated Infections Surveillance Network (HAI-Net) is a European network for the surveillance of HAI.