In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dr Ziad Memish, Director of the GCC Centre for Infection Control, said: “A recent study in Saudi Arabia showed 8 per cent of hospitalised patients were affected by healthcare-associated infection. This rate should not be different from rates in the UAE or any other Gulf state since the region shares similar geography, culture and healthcare infrastructures.”
He, however, said this percentage is considered as outstanding compared to other developing countries with less resources “where the rate is double, if not more,” said Dr Memish.
The expert will be chair of the scientific committee in the upcoming international Patients’ Safety Congress slated for September 2-4 in Abu Dhabi.
He mentioned that this kind of infection worldwide has been identified as one of the leading causes of death whereby over 1.4 million people around the globe suffer from infections acquired in hospitals.
Quoting recent statistics compiled by the World Health Organisation’s East Mediterranean Region Office (EMRO), he said infections, which patients may acquire during hospitalisation could occur in five to 12 per cent of patients.
About the most common contagious diseases seen in the region, he cited tuberculosis (TB), parasitic diseases and brucellosis (also called undulant fever or Malta fever).
Talking about the cause of these infections, the expert mentioned that invasive procedures and some medications needed for patients can cause difficult-to-treat infections.
“Invasive procedures required for big surgeries, bypass heart surgeries, and its post-operative intensive care, and the associated common practice of prolonged use of antibiotics make patients colonised with multi-drug resistant organisms. All these usually cause infections that are uneasy to treat,” said Dr Memish.
He added that immunocompromised patients (patients with an immune system that has been impaired by disease or treatment) are more prone to get healthcare-associated infections.