Today GOJO Industries pledged our commitment to antibiotic stewardship. GOJO, along with more than 150 other organizations, gathered at the White House for the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship, which brought together key Federal and private constituencies involved in the development, promotion and implementation of antibiotic stewardship activities to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics in the United States. I wanted to take this time to share with you why we have joined with the White House and are committed to advancing antibiotic stewardship.
Antibiotic Resistance – A Growing Concern
Each year in the United States alone, approximately two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these types of infections. Plus, many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. In addition, antibiotic-resistant infections have been estimated to cost the US healthcare system more than $20 billion annually.2
Science indicates the root cause of antibiotic resistance is over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics by humans and in animals. Increasingly, antibiotic overuse results in the inability to prevent and control infections as certain bacteria develop defenses against entire classes of antibiotic compounds. We need to widely deploy prophylactic solutions that prevent the need for antibiotics and therefore reduce the burden of resistant organisms across communities and healthcare settings.
A primary prevention approach to reduce the need for antibiotics is effective hand hygiene. As we know, hand hygiene is one of the best measures you can take to prevent the spread of illness-causing germs. Staying healthy and preventing infections from happening is a very effective way to reduce the use of antibiotics. This is why practicing good hand hygiene – handwashing and hand sanitizing – is so important to overcoming the challenge of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic stewardship is a coordinated program that promotes the appropriate use of antibiotics, improves patient outcomes, reduces microbial resistance and decreases the spread of infections caused by multi-drug resistant organisms, is a strong first step in fighting antibiotic resistance. This type of program directly aligns with the GOJO Purpose of Saving Lives and Making Life Better Through Well-Being Solutions, and is why we have pledged our support.
The following details the actions we plan on taking to further this commitment.
Collaborative studies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other Government Agencies and Public Health Organizations to advance the science of hand hygiene and infection prevention
- GOJO and the CDC investigators will launch the multi-factorial study, “Detect and Protect Collaborative – Stopping Deadly “Superbugs” in Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals.” This study includes novel hand hygiene compliance monitoring provided by GOJO.
- GOJO and the Veterans Administration hospitals work together to drive hand hygiene compliance throughout the hundreds of VA hospitals nationwide to decrease the prevalence and burden of all disease-causing organisms, especially those that are antibiotic resistant.
Public Health Education
- GOJO supports the CDC “Get Smart” programs with media efforts in a very deliberate, multi-year effort, to raise awareness of hand hygiene as a preventive measure to reduce health risks from antibiotic resistance, targeting healthcare and public health leaders, educators and parents. GOJO in collaboration with the CDC will provide “Get Smart” education and free hand sanitizer sampling.
- Keeping Kids Healthy is #1 --- GOJO will work with school systems across the country with the intent to dramatically reduce student absenteeism through hand hygiene. Having healthy kids reduces the need for antibiotics.
We pledge our long-term support to promote antibiotic stewardship and reduce antibiotic resistance with an “all-in” entrepreneurial spirit. We look forward to working with other organizations that share this dedication to improving public health. I also encourage you to show your support by telling Congress about the need to preserve funding for crucial programs that will help reduce antibiotic resistance.