oa Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases - Patient empowerment as a driver of hand hygiene practice : time for patients in South Africa to have their say : editorial
"Patient-centered care" presumes the active involvement of patients and their families in the design of new care models and in decision-making about individual options for treatment. An extension of this concept would be for patients and their families to play an active role in policing potentially harmful practices that are ongoing in our healthcare facilities. One of the greatest direct threats to patient safety is the rise of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. Antibiotics play a vital role in the treatment of bacterial infection, and when used correctly, have a profound impact on morbidity and mortality. However, decades of inappropriate antibiotic use have driven the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, by selecting out those with resistance. Today, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections are encountered in public and private hospitals across South Africa. Pan-resistant Gram-negative infections have already been identified, and the number of these untreatable infections will only increase. The true burden of healthcare-associated infections in South Africa is unknown, but globally, hundreds of millions of patients are affected each year.
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