Hospital-acquired infections during COVID-19
Since March 2020, there has been a significant increase in the
number of patients admitted to hospitals in India due to the
COVID-19 pandemic. Talking to doctors and stakeholders at local
hospitals and medical institutes, we learnt that the majority of
the Indian population prefers going to government hospitals instead
of private ones due to financial instabilities. Unfortunately for the
patients, government hospitals in India lack proper sanitation and
hygiene, due to which hospital-acquired infections have become a common problem.
Integrated Human Practices
that shaped our project
Public health is defined as “the science and art of preventing disease”, prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), communities and individuals. Simultaneously we were inspired by the Open Health philosophy in conducting health-research in an open, ethical, and rigorous manner. Thus, following these philosophies, we focused our efforts on:
- Understanding reasons that lead to hospital-acquired infections
(Check out Surveys here)
- We learnt that ventilator associated pneumonia was a major concern during COVID-19 due to the rise in frequency of ventilator usage.
- We conducted surveys to evaluate awareness and measures taken against hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance among the medical-staff/experts and the general population.
- Finding ways to prevent HAI via integrating our human practices
(Check out Integrated Human Practices here.)
- We acknowledged A. baumannii as a major causative agent of ventilator-associated pneumonia in Indian hospitals.
- We chose to target antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in A. baumannii and decided to provide novel antibacterial agents as the aim of our project.
- We met and conducted brainstorming sessions with experts from public health practices in India (Eg: Doctors, Clemedi) to design novel antibacterial agents.
to the society in promoting Open Health
We believe that scientific communication has a significant effect on collective learning and community awareness. To this end, we shared our experience in combating hospital-acquired infections by reaching out to the general public and encouraged next-generation science enthusiasts in preparing themselves to face future challenges. We achieved this via:
- Imparting our knowledge to scientific fraternity for Open Health
- We conducted webinars to understand their perspective and impart basic knowledge about the Antimicrobial Resistance, the field of Synthetic Biology, and Machine Learning. Further, we encouraged them to pursue research careers in the two emerging fields: Biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence.
- Educating the public and raising awareness towards Open Health
- We compiled information booklets from our interactions and shared them with the public to educate them and provide precautionary measures against hospital acquired infections.
- We designed quizzes for young adults to acknowledge their understanding of antimicrobial resistance in a fun and incentivized way. It boosted their confidence and increased their knowledge in scientific topics.
Our Hope & Perspectives
We hope that our work can serve as a helpful guide to follow best practices in open human health research against hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance. More importantly, we hope that the scientific research community, especially in India will use our work as a starting point to address non-functional and conventional practices of health-care and, when our work falls short, share their own inputs to improve the state of open, ethical, inclusive human health research.