Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control

Antimicrobial Resistance

With only a few countries implementing WHO’s global strategy for the containment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), it is not currently identified as an urgent priority in most countries. Once it is, AMR policies, medicine regulations, and research can be implemented adequately. To do so, national and regional stakeholders must support the creation of local coalitions and advocacy efforts to combat AMR.

SIAPS supported country and regional coalition-building efforts around AMR, as described in Building Coalitions for Containing Antimicrobial Resistance: A Guide. The approach involves rapid information gathering to identify AMR-related issues and stakeholders. Stakeholders are then assisted to establish a local champion group  that will mobilize and catalyze partners and develop locally feasible action plans to contain AMR.

Plans consider strategies that strengthen health systems overall, such as infection prevention and control programs, pre- and in-service curricula reforms that address AMR and rational antimicrobial use, the establishment of effective DTCs, public awareness and education campaigns, formulation and enforcement of AMR-related policies and regulations, and institutionalization of antimicrobial use and resistance surveillance actions.

Enhanced antimicrobial stewardship at the regional and country levels will help preserve antimicrobial effectiveness and contribute to AMR containment.

To learn more about our work in AMR, please see our Key Resources page for success stories, presentations, and publications.

Infection Control

Infection control limits the spread of antimicrobial resistance, preserves the therapeutic effectiveness of currently available antimicrobial agents, and improves patient safety. By preventing cross-infection with resistant organisms, particularly among patients in health care facilities, and reducing the use of antimicrobials, infection control reduces the opportunity for drug resistance to develop. Although critical in optimizing patient outcomes and protecting the health of a community, effective infection control often receives insufficient recognition or support in resource-limited settings.

SIAPS promoted a multidisciplinary, systems strengthening approach to infection control, combining diagnostic self-assessment with continuous quality improvement (CQI) cycles to design, implement, monitor, readjust, and improve infection control interventions.

SIAPS employed the Infection Control Assessment Tool (ICAT) to assess infection control practices in hospitals and health facilities. The ICAT consists of individual modules containing questions for self-assessment, a scoring system, reference notes with current international standards, and checklists to objectively measure infection control practices. The modules cover various aspects of infection control, including hand hygiene, patient isolation, standard precautions, and waste management. The ICAT tool and user manual are available in three languages:

ICAT/CQI is a simple and practical approach that helps assess the adequacy of existing infection prevention and control (IPC) practices and provides specific recommendations for improving practices and monitoring the effectiveness of interventions over time. National stakeholders have found the tool to be useful, were able to adapt sections or the entire tool to local context and needs, and assumed ownership, thereby promoting an IPC culture in their hospitals.

SIAPS furthered this work by adapting the original ICAT for use in primary health care settings and piloted the tool in Guatemala.