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A new report on healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) underlines the critical need for employing single-use medical nonwovens in the push to achieve effective infection control.

Prepared by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) it has been welcomed by EDANA, the association representing the nonwovens and related industries.

“Experience has shown that in surgery single-use surgical barrier materials – gloves, gowns, drapes and masks – are a key factor in preventing transfer of micro-organisms.” said Pierre Wiertz, EDANA’s general manager. “Although in Europe the market penetration of single-use gowns and drapes has reached around 60-65% – taking into account geographical differences – this is still significantly lower than in the USA. More has to be done to help increasing that penetration and thus contribute to efforts of better infection control to reduce HCAIs.

“The mission of EDANA’s MEDECO (medical devices committee), is therefore to promote the benefits of single-use nonwovens products to decision makers, influencers and end-users in surgery, wound management and infection control, and to promote high levels of product safety and quality in accordance with established quality standards.”

The ECDC report is based on a survey conducted in more than 1,000 hospitals in 30 European countries which provides the most comprehensive database on HCAIs and antimicrobial use in European acute care hospitals to date.
Its main findings show that:
•    On any given day, about 80,000 patients – or 1 in 18 patients – in European hospitals have at least one healthcare-associated infection.
•    The most common types of such infections are respiratory tract infections, surgical site infections, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.
•    At least one in three patients, receive at least one antimicrobial agent on any given day in European hospitals.

The ECDC has subsequently made recommendations that should be further developed and implemented across Europe including:
•    Increasing the skills for surveillance of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use.
•    Raising awareness of HCAIs among healthcare workers across the EU.

Recently, EDANA’s MEDECO has re-asserted its objectives and commitment to:
•    Identify and monitor regulatory and political developments relevant to these products and industry.
•    Participate in policy-development in Europe (such as the draft EU Medical Devices Directive).
•    Provide non-competitive information about the industry.
•    Maintain contacts with relevant European and national authorities and institutions.
•    Promote greater public awareness about these products, their uses, benefits and in particular, their contribution to sustainability.

EDANA welcomes any interested companies involved in the supply chain for surgical gowns, drapes, masks to join its MEDECO and participate in the fight for safe healthcare.

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