Pilot Survey on Environmental Hygiene Contains Startling Results

Over 50 health care facilities from 35 countries participated from both higher and lower income settings.

Health care environmental hygiene (HCEH) practices throughout the world are unknown from a large study standpoint. However, to begin to improve global health, HCEH issues must be addressed. From previous investigations, almost every hospital showed that they had problems in their HCEH programs; therefore, investigators need to find the baseline of what HCEH is in facilities at all levels of income settings.

In the first part of an exclusive 2-part interview, Alexandra Peters, MA, PhD, and a lead author of the study, “Results of an international pilot survey on health care environmental hygiene at the facility level,” recently published by the America Journal of Infection Control spoke to Infection Control Today®(ICT®). Peters works at the Infection Control Programme and World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Prevention and Control and Antimicrobial Resistance and the University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland.

In this first quantified review, Peters, et al, tried to create a tool to determine a multimodel strategy for environmental hygiene because of the varying environments, contexts, and products and supplies. Peters told ICT® in the interview that it was “challenging to try to come up with something that was as applicable in a high resource setting as in a low resource setting.”

Using this tool, the investigators began “to see what is going on in health care facilities around the world. Because up to now, we don't really have too much information about how things are done. So we sent out a survey in 3 rounds, starting in April of [2021]. [Then] we had this big database of 18,000 hospitals, and aimed for two hospitals per country,” Peters said. “We didn't look at whether they were primary or tertiary care centers…this was a pilot survey to see what type of information we [could] get back.”

In this first part of the interview with ICT®, Peters gave an overview of the study and what she and her colleagues hoped to learn. In the second part, Peters gives some of the data the investigators collected and what the investigators will be researching in the future.