33000 people die every year due to infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria

An ECDC study estimates that about 33,000 people die each year as a direct consequence of an infection due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics and that the burden of these infections is comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined. It also explains that 75% of the burden of disease is due to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and that reducing this through adequate infection prevention and control measures, as well as antibiotic stewardship, could be an achievable goal in healthcare settings.

Finally, the study shows that 39% of the burden is caused by infections with bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotics such as carbapenems and colistin. This is an increase from 2007 and is worrying because these antibiotics are the last treatment options available. When these are no longer effective, it is extremely difficult or, in many cases, impossible to treat infections.

Source: 33000 people die every year due to infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria

We must join our forces to stop the unnecessary use of antibiotics

The European Commission released the results of a new Eurobarometer study on the public knowledge on antibiotics and overall trends in their use ahead of the 11th European Antibiotic Awareness Day.

The study shows that there has been a positive evolution in the use of antibiotics: 32% of people said they had taken antibiotics in the last twelve months, compared to 40% in the 2009 survey. However, many of these antibiotics were taken unnecessarily: 20% of  antibiotics were taken for flu or a cold and 7% took them without a medical prescription. 66% of the respondents know that antibiotics are of no use against colds, and 43% are aware that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. Over two thirds of people would like to have more information about antibiotics.

To read more about this go to: European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2018: we must join our forces to stop the unnecessary use of antibiotics

Obesity Update – OECD

Today, more than one in two adults and nearly one in six children are overweight or obese in the OECD area. The obesity epidemic has spread further in the past five years, although at a slower pace than before. Despite this, new projections show a continuing increase of obesity in all studied countries. Social disparities in obesity persist and have increased in some countries. A nearly tenfold variation in obesity and overweight rates can be seen across OECD countries.

In the last few years, new policy strategies devised to fight obesity have emerged. The OECD have produced an Obesity Update which focuses on a selection of those, specifically at communication policies aimed to tackle obesity, in particular by improving nutrient information displayed on food labels, using social and new media to sensitise the population, or by regulating the marketing of food products. Better communication helps empower people to make healthier choices. However, comprehensive policy packages, including not only communication but also broader regulatory and fiscal policies, are needed to tackle obesity effectively.

To read the full update on the OECD website: Obesity Update

One in four Europeans are open to robot surgery

Comfort with the idea of robotic surgery varies widely around the Continent, as a DataPoint graphic based on Eurobarometer data shows:

**This infographic is from POLITICO Pro’s DataPoint library. DataPoint provides ready-to-use, customizable data presentation slides based on research by POLITICO journalists. To access this DataPoint, and see what else they have in the library, email pro@politico.eu requesting a complimentary trial.**

Less success with AI diagnosis: While about two-thirds of Germans would embrace machine-assisted surgery, artificial intelligence is off to a rocky start in the country when it comes to diagnosing complex conditions. Der Spiegel looks (in English) at why several hospitals have dropped their experiments with IBM’s Watson program after disappointing results.

EU steps up efforts to increase availability and boost healthcare data sharing

The European Commission has put forward a set of measures to increase the availability of data in the EU, building on previous initiatives to boost the free flow of non-personal data in the Digital Single Market.

Data-driven innovation is a key enabler of market growth, job creation, particularly for SMEs and startups, and the development of new technologies. It allows citizens to easily access and manage their health data, and allows public authorities to use data better in research, prevention and health system reforms.

To read more about this on the European Commission website go to: European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – Data in the EU: Commission steps up efforts to increase availability and boost healthcare data sharing

4% annual decrease too slow to end TB by 2030

A new report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe indicates that the number of new tuberculosis (TB) patients has been decreasing at an average rate of 4.3% yearly in the last decade in the WHO European Region.

Despite being the fastest decline in the world, this trend is insufficient to achieve the target of ending the TB epidemic by 2030, as envisioned in the End TB Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals. The new report was released ahead of World Tuberculosis Day, which this year called on global leaders to accelerate efforts to end TB once and for all.

To read more about efforts to end the TB epidemic on the WHO Europe website, go to: http://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2018/who-europeecdc-joint-press-release-4-annual-decrease-too-slow-to-end-tb-by-2030-call-for-europes-commitment-to-increase-investment-to-end-tb?utm_source=WHO%2FEurope+mailing+list&utm_campaign=b0784de77d-News_highlights_January_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_60241f4736-b0784de77d-93292493

Health Systems in the EU: Primary Care

The EU Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment (HSPA) has published its report “A new drive for primary care in Europe: rethinking the assessment tools and methodologies” to help policy makers and health practitioners to set objectives and measure progress towards improving primary care services for the benefit of patients.

The report examines core aspects of well-performing primary care systems, focusing on their key functions such as access, coordination of care and continuity of care. The analysis confirms that performance assessment in primary care paves the way for better health outcomes, and improves the overall health system. However, there is significant scope to advance primary care performance assessment in Europe.

To read more about the report on the European Commission website, go to: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/sante/newsletter-specific-archive-issue.cfm?newsletter_service_id=327&newsletter_issue_id=7571

New Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity

A new report shows that levels of participation have not changed substantially since the previous Eurobarometer survey in 2014. In fact, the proportion of those who say they never exercise or play sport has slightly increased from 42% to 46% Europe-wide, and this is a continuation of a gradual trend since 2009.

Measures taken to increase physical activity, since the last Eurobarometer in 2014, are likely to take a few years to produce tangible effects and change people’s behaviour, especially since a lot of the effort is focused on young people.

To read the report in full on the European Commission website go to: New Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity – European Commission

Health systems performance review

Assessing the performance of health systems is essential to understanding how they work, and therefore to improving them. It is a complex process that involves statistical measurements, deep analysis and development of practical actions. Sound health system performance assessment (HSPA) is achieved through the joint actions of different players, including policy-makers, statistical institutes, researchers, healthcare providers, and patients.

HSPA provides a strong evidence-based approach to policy making. It may also serve as a strategic framework for health providers to monitor progress and assess best practices, by linking health outcomes to the strategies and functions of the health system.

To read more about performance reviews of health systems go to: Overview – European Commission

Using Health and Social Data to monitor Health Inequalities

Those who experience social and economic disadvantage are more likely to be in poor health and have shorter lives than more advantaged peers. Full analysis of the risk factors for and trends in health inequalities is complex and requires comprehensive and comparable health and social data. When national and regional authorities have such data which can be disaggregated by socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, and education, they can plan and execute policies and interventions which tackle inequalities in cost-effective ways. In the latest issue of Policy Précis, EuroHealthNet examines what systems and measures for the collection of data are currently in place in Europe and Member States, and what improvements should be made.


To read more about using health and social data to monitor health inequalities go to: Using Health and Social Data to monitor Health Inequalities | EuroHealthNet