Hospital-acquired infections or healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are defined as infection not present or incubating at the time of admission. These infections typically develop after 48-72 hours of admission and can also present after discharge. These are broadly classified as device associated (DA) HAI or procedure associated(PA) HAI. DA-HAI includes central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and ventilator-associated pneumonia. PA-HAI includes surgical site infections. Data reported from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that HAIs account for 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year. Of these HAIs: 32 percent are catheter associated urinary tract infections, 22 percent are surgical site infections,15 percent are ventilator-associated pneumonia, 14 percent are central line associated bloodstream infections.It is said that in high-income countries, approximately 30% of patients in intensive care units (ICU) are affected by one health care-associated infection and it is 3 times more in low- and middle-income countries. Data from WHO estimates about 7-12% HAI burden in hospitalized patients globally. The data from India are alarming, with an incidence rate varying from 11% to 83% for different kinds of HAIs. International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium (INICC) in 55 ICUs of 8 developing countries including India revealed an overall rate of 14.7% HAI corresponding to 22.5 infections per 1000 ICU days. Of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, 7 in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire at least one health care-associated infection. The HAI lead to increase length of stay mortality, morbidity,costs. Studies have estimated that 55%-75% of hospital-acquired infections are preventable. HAI are often caused by Multi Drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO). Antimicrobial Stewardship program helps in reducing prevalence of MDRO. It becomes very important for any healthcare set up to implement strategies to reduce HAI. The wide range of prevalence of HAI rates in India calls for an urgent need for implementation. These strategies are policy making and implementation at healthcare set up involving regular education, training,identification of Infection control Stewards, implementation of Standard Precautions, adoption of bundle care and newer technologies, data collection, surveillance ,root cause analysis and corrective / preventive action.
Conclusion: HAI is considered one of the major global threats. These infections can be prevented by implementing infection control strategies at every healthcare set up. MDRO and antimicrobial resistance can be decreased by merely following infection control. Regular training, education, workshops and bedside training by infection control stewards is need of the hour.