Report of working group 1: Public health challenges
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Clinical microbiology and infection / European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. - Oxford
, p. 36-40
University of Antwerp
There is a need to improve surveillance systems in order to recognise emerging threats, both in the community and in hospitals, in a timely manner. The laboratory arm of surveillance must be complemented by hospital and primary care components. We also need more training at all levels: undergraduate and postgraduate medical training, specialist training, as well as continuing professional development schemes. Core training programmes for infectious disease specialists and medical microbiologists must be established. The contribution of general practitioners, infection specialists, microbiology laboratories, and public health specialists/agencies to response systems should be defined as clearly as possible and should be either empirically based or derived from scenario-guided calamity models. The success of surveillance hinges on sufficient long-term resources and dedicated coordination. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) may assume this role. However, structural and administrative constraints of the diverse healthcare systems throughout Europe may represent an impediment to a harmonised response. Also, the funding of the ECDC cannot cover the operational demands. The ECDC may well work as a small coordinating unit; however, without a laboratory-based scientific status, it remains doubtful whether the ECDC will achieve the competence and authority needed for effective leadership in healthcare. The ESCMID, together with other national and international scientific societies, should put emphasis on the fact that infectious diseases have not received the necessary degree of attention from governments in the European region. The ESCMID should strengthen its role in harmonising and supporting the highest standards of training in the infection disciplines.