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Why reducing antimicrobial resistance matters

Every time we undergo a medical procedure, we risk infection. Harmful bacteria can resist the drugs designed to kill them, leaving us vulnerable. The World Health Organization identifies antimicrobial resistance as a top ten global health issue. Bad bacteria pose a serious threat to patients and clinicians around the globe.

Helen Thomason, senior manager of medical partnerships for Europe, Middle East, and Africa has witnessed the challenges of antimicrobial resistance in wound care, specifically.

“A wound provides the ideal place for microorganisms like bacteria to grow, because it’s moist, warm, and full of nutrients required for bacterial growth,” Helen observes. 

If a patient has more than one medical condition, it reduces the body’s ability to combat infection and makes it easier for bacteria to thrive in the wound.

“This triggers an immune response that sends inflammatory cells to fight the infection,” Heather explains. “The trick is that the cells can’t discern between good and bad bacteria. They kill healthy tissue, too.”

A global health challenge and an opportunity

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, antimicrobial resistance spreads easily across the globe, with one billion people crossing international borders each year. The World Health Organization encourages each country to adopt sound infection prevention and control practices to stop the spread. Still, only 15% of countries meet the minimum requirements. That’s why global conversations and coordinated efforts are key.

Leaders solving together

“In academia, we have great minds with fantastic ideas about how to develop something,” Helen notes. “But when it comes to business, academics benefit from the support of industry to develop an idea into a commercially viable product that fits with clinical practice.” ​​​​​​​

That’s why, during the 2022 United Nations General Assembly, Solventum, formerly 3M Health Care, organized a panel discussion with private and public sector leaders to talk about antimicrobial resistance. The panel provided a place for people from all disciplines to share their knowledge and expertise.

Solventum is uniquely suited to help solve antimicrobial resistance with education and solutions. The 3M™ Peak™ Clinical Outcomes Program, for example, is designed to help healthcare organizations prioritize patient and clinician safety by improving their infection prevention control practices. Through the Peak Program, Solventum helps to prepare and educate hospital staff, as well as assess and update protocols based on best practices. The team also provides ongoing clinical education through on-site training and learning modules. 

Helen is hopeful that better, smarter, safer healthcare for all is on the horizon.

“We’re speaking with healthcare providers and understanding their problems. The collaboration between academics, clinicians and industry will help identify what infections really are a problem and, importantly, determine how we can combat these infections.”