New Delhi: Antibiotics should only be used to prevent infections before and during surgery and not afterwards, new guidelines issued by World Health Organisation (WHO), which aim to save lives, cut costs and arrest the spread of superbugs, said.
Noting that surgical site infections threaten millions of lives and contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance, WHO said in low and middle-income countries, 11 per cent of patients who undergo surgery are infected in the process.
The guidelines also said people preparing for surgery should always have a bath or shower but should not be shaved. The Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection include a list of 29 concrete recommendations distilled by 20 of the world’s leading experts from 26 reviews of the latest evidence.
The recommendations were also published on Wednesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases and are designed to address the increasing burden of healthcare-associated infections on both patients and healthcare systems globally.
“No one should get sick while seeking or receiving care.
Preventing surgical infections has never been more important but it is complex and requires a range of preventive measures.
These guidelines are an invaluable tool for protecting patients,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s Assistant, Director General for Health Systems and Innovation.
Surgical site infections are caused by bacteria that get in through incisions made during surgery and they threaten the lives of millions of patients each year and contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.
The new WHO guidelines are valid for any country, including India, and suitable to local adaptations and take account of the strength of available scientific evidence, the cost and resource implications, and patient values and preferences.