World Sepsis Congress (WSC) Spotlight: Sepsis, Pandemics, and Antimicrobial Resistance – Global Health Threats of the 21st Century

5 October 2020Sepsis and Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are recognised global health problems, both contributing to the enormous human, medical, and economic burden of infectious diseases. Sepsis occurs mostly in response to an underlying infection – either a primary infection or from infectious complications of injuries and non-communicable diseases.

An estimated 48.9 million people worldwide are affected by sepsis each year with up to 11 million resultant deaths. Failure to recognize sepsis early and the lack of appropriate clinical management can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death. Manifestations of sepsis and septic shock are frequently the final pathway for emerging infectious disease threats such as the recent Ebola outbreaks, and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to the overall global burden of sepsis.

In addition to early recognition and appropriate clinical management, most deaths from sepsis can be prevented by simple measures of infection prevention, vaccination, and clean care. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an important driver of sepsis as it can compromise the clinical management of sepsis, resulting in poor outcomes. AMR occurs as a result of multiple and interlinked factors, including the inappropriate use of antibiotics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Sepsis Alliance (GSA) hosted a co-organized World Sepsis Congress (WSC) Spotlight on the 9th September 2020. This was a free online event aimed to review achievements, challenges, and potential solutions to combat the threat of sepsis worldwide, bringing together highly ranked representatives of international and national healthcare authorities, NGOs, policymakers, patients, patient advocacy groups, clinical scientists, researchers, and pioneers in healthcare improvement with the unified goal of improving AMR and sepsis healthcare around the world.

Over the course of 6 distinctive sessions, the WSC Spotlight provided an overview of lessons and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent Ebola outbreaks in the context of the global fight against sepsis and AMR. In addition to describing the current global epidemiology and burden of sepsis and AMR, speakers explored a future sepsis research agenda as well as innovative, novel, and cost-effective approaches to preventing and combating pandemics, sepsis, and AMR.

Dr Uduak Okomo, a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at LSHTM was one of the invited speakers at the WSC Spotlight, and delivered a talk on ‘Challenges in Implementing Sepsis and AMR Surveillance’ in the session ‘The Epidemiology and Burden of Sepsis’ In her talk, Dr Okomo highlighted the importance of robust surveillance systems, the multifaceted challenges in implementing surveillance across diverse settings, and potential synergies for integrated surveillance systems.

To watch Dr Okomo’s presentation kindly click the link here.