Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are among the most serious public health problems, globally and in Europe. ECDC estimated that approximately 4 million patients acquire a HAI each year in all European Union Member States and that approximately 37,000 deaths directly result from these infections. A large proportion of these deaths are due to the most common multidrug-resistant bacteria, i.e. Staphylococcus aureus,Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa for which the number of directly attributable deaths is currently estimated at 25,000. The issues of AMR and HAI overlap widely, but are not synonymous. HAI are often due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but not always. Inversely, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including multidrug resistant types, are not only responsible for HAI but are also responsible for infections in outpatients and found as part of the flora of healthy individuals, in pet animals and in the environment. They are also isolated from food-producing animals and sometimes from food products.

Two Council Recommendations ask European Union Member States to adopt and implement specific strategies for the prudent use of antimicrobial-agents aiming at containing antimicrobial resistance, and for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections - aiming at improving patient safety.

Objectives of the programme:

1. To improve coordination, methods and capacities for surveillance of AMR, antimicrobial consumption and HAI.

The programme is responsible for the coordination of surveillance of AMR, antimicrobial consumption and HAI in the European Union. The programme aims for continuous development of the three surveillance networks:

2. To manage an Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS): a web-based platform for rapid communication on AMR and HAI events between competent bodies and experts.

3. To provide evidence-based guidance and systematic reviews on the prevention and control of AMR and HAI in healthcare settings and in the community.

4. To contribute to training on surveillance, prevention and control of AMR and HAI.

5. To support Member States activities in the field of AMR, antimicrobial consumption and HAI.

6. To coordinate the European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November.

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Link to European IC/HH Core Competencies: Area 3. Surveillance and investigation of healthcare associated infection (HAI)

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