Actors from academia and the public and private sectors met in Stockholm on a sunny afternoon last week to talk about healthcare-associated infections in India and how to combat them. The background is an initiative taken by Swedish companies Essity, EMPE Diagnostics and Bactiguard, to take a lead position towards combatting healthcare-associated infections in India. The first steps to "Vision Zero on Healthcare-Associated Infections" were taken during the delegation trip to India in February 2019, headed by Minister for Health Lena Hallengren.
Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) are an important public health problem globally. HAIs occur worldwide and affect all countries, irrespective of their degree of development. +50% of all HAI are caused by bacterial growth on medical devices, such as catheters. They represent a significant burden among patients, health-care workers and health systems - but are in many cases preventable. In India, it is estimated that more than 2 million people are affected each year.
Cecilia Edström, recently appointed CEO of Bactiguard, introduced the seminar by saying that she is a a strong believer in the triple helix approach, where academia and public and private sectors can work towards the same goal. This initiative is an attempt to build collaborative ecosystems in healthcare across India, to capture the learning’s of Sweden and contribute towards leading the path of substantially reduced HAI in India - to reduce infections, reduce complications for patients, free up bed capacity and lower the cost of treatment.
The pre-study that has been done was presented by Aticka Chona, consultant at Green Karmas. The study’s purpose was to clearly understand the expectations of the Indian authorities and healthcare industry, and to develop a structure and engagement plan to take forward the co-operation. The pre-study has also raised awareness and interest among various public and private care providers, such as AIIMS, Max, Medanta, Apollo and the Healthcare Sector Skills Council. The interest from the Indian side in the vision has been keen interest, which has been beneficial for the founding companies.
All of the actors said that they know which their challenges are, and what can be done – but they need to learn HOW to do that and how others have done it. The answer lies in Education, education, education. Swedish healthcare is well-known and our work on infection control can be a role model. They know learn more about pre-diagnosis, to build a digital solution based on what has been done in Sweden but then adapted to Indian conditions and they would like continuous contact – handholding – on how to address infections in the hospitals.
The continuation of the project is planned in two phases. The first one will focus on ICU challenges, and the second will be focused on general hospitals challenges. The work will be done through a series of joint working groups between Swedish companies, Indian hospitals and healthcare organizations on the topic of HAI.
The present group of Swedish companies and the Indian hospitals are now ready to take the next step, to bring global best practices, data and knowledge from Sweden to Indian healthcare actors. By joining the Vision Zero for HAI in India, partners can work towards the same goal and actually make a difference. This can then serve as a basis for business opportunities for the Swedish companies – getting access to a chain of hospital through only one entry point is a great advantage!
The initiative is now looking for more Swedish stakeholders that want to share their expertise and solutions, and to capitalize on the work already done for Vision Zero for HAI in India. For more information, please contact aticka.chona[@[greenkarmas.com or anna.riby[a]Swecare.se.