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Global advice on surgery infections

Wednesday March 25th, 2020

New guidelines, published today, set out how surgeons in low-income countries can reduce the risk of surgical site infection.

The advice, published today (25 March) in the British Journal of Surgery was compiled by international experts led by Mr Aneel Bhangu and colleagues at the University of Birmingham, UK.

They hope the guidelines will standardise and improve surgery, saving thousands of lives in low- and middle-income countries.

Nine essential recommendations are set out, to lower the risk of surgical site infection.

These include: giving a full body wash with clean water and soap before an operation; following antibiotic prescribing guidelines; and using antiseptic surgical solution to decontaminate hands and the skin at the surgical site immediately before surgery.

Mr Bhangu says: “We’ve estimated that around 20 million patients develop surgical site infections worldwide each year following abdominal surgery, including 14.7 million patients in low- and middle-income countries.

“The Global Surgery Guideline for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection has identified practical steps that all hospitals should urgently take to both reduce avoidable infections and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.”

Co-author, Dr Adewale Adisa of the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, added: “High rates of surgical site infections and antimicrobial resistance are a real worry for surgeons, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

“Although guidelines for prevention of surgical site infections have previously been published, they were developed in high income countries.

“Many of their recommendations were impractical for resource-limited hospitals, and few low- and middle-income countries surgeons put them in to practice. This is the first guideline to have been led by low- and middle-income country surgeons and I believe our recommendations can be implemented immediately to benefit all patients across the world.”

Bhangu, A. et al. The Global Surgery Guideline for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection. British Journal of Surgery 25 March 2020

Tags: Africa | Internal Medicine | MRSA & Hygiene | UK News | World Health

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