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Event – “Get your dirty hands off me!”, Understandascope series, 3 October

Posted in Events, Research by Ferne Edwards on September 27th, 2007

The Understandascope @ Fed Square Series – Wednesday 3 October 2007
#4: “Get your dirty hands off me!” – Antibiotic resistance and the politics of hand-hygiene in health institutions.

An article in Public Health Reports estimates that in 2002 almost 100,000 deaths resulted from Healthcare-Associated Infections in US hospitals. The total number of infections was 17 times that number [Klevens et al., March-April, 2007, pp.160-166].

Behind the individual misery of the infection experience itself is an even more serious matter and it is the rise of antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Antibiotics are losing their clout and our capacity to find new ones is not keeping pace with that loss of effectiveness.

It is vital therefore that the cycle of infection and resistance-inducing use of antibiotics be broken. One simple way of doing this effectively is to improve hand hygiene.

Inadequately disinfected hands are understood as a primary source of these infections. Our hospitals and government departments are committed to improving this situation. The existence of gentle-to-hands alcohol “washes” has dramatically improved the ease, speed and effectiveness of hand-disinfection however, the incidence of dirty hands touching patients, their medications and other infection-inducing procedures is still way too high.

The Austin Hospital in Melbourne is leading this charge but all hospitals are engaged.

Panelists will outline the basis of the concern, why the issue is awkward and what can and is being done to improve the situation.

John Carnie [Chief Health Officer, Victorian Department of Human Services]
Philomena Horsley [Medical Anthropologist, Univ. of Melb.]
Paul Johnston [Infectious Diseases Physician, Austin Health]
Rhea Martin [Co-ordinator Infection Control Team, Austin Health]
Aaron Steinke [Health consumer advocate and systems engineer, Red Energy]

Frank Fisher [Director, The Understandascope, Monash Uni.]

Time & Date: 6:00 – 8.00pm, Wednesday 3 October 2007
Location: BMW Edge theatre, Federation Square, Melbourne
Cost: Voluntary “gold coin” donation.
Biodynamic Apples: courtesy Greenwood Orchards, Merrigum.

Media Enquiries:
Frank Fisher Convenor, The Understandascope, mob. 0428 862693
Ron Smith Corporate Media Communications Federation Square, mob. 0417 329 201

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