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    More People Will Die of Sepsis Than Cancer and Heart Attacks by 2050: Doctors at IHW Council’s 2nd Sepsis Summit

    Published on September 16, 2021

    • Healthcare experts concurred that awareness and education regarding sepsis need to be increased at ground level.
    • Doctors called for checking abuse and irrational use of antibiotics as it leads to antibiotic resistance.
    • Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and is a leading cause of death in new-borns and pregnant women.
    • More people are vulnerable to sepsis than to cancer or cardiovascular diseases because it can be caused by many common diseases such as dengue, malaria, UTIs or even diarrhoea.

    New Delhi : Noting the lack of awareness regarding sepsis, particularly affecting new-borns and pregnant women, doctors and health experts have concurred that the growing incidence of this potentially life-threatening condition may kill more people by 2050 than cancer and heart attacks. Gathered at the second Sepsis Summit India 2021, organised by the leading health awareness institution Integrated Health & Wellbeing (IHW) Council, they emphasized on the need for awareness and early diagnosis as well as controlling the rampant use of antibiotics.

     “Sepsis will kill more people than cancer or heart attack by 2050 – it is going to be the biggest killer. Also, in developing countries like India, multidrug resistance due to gross overuse of antibiotics is probably causing a higher mortality. Despite advancement in medicine, tertiary care hospitals see 50-60 per cent patients get sepsis and septic shock. Awareness, and early diagnosis are needed, and unnecessary antibiotic therapy should be avoided,” said Dr Yatin Mehta, Chairman, Institute of Critical Care and Anaesthesiology, Medanta – The Medicity, Gurgaon.

    Mr Sanjiv Navangul, Managing Director & CEO, Bharat Serums & Vaccines Limited, said, “Sepsis is more of a body response than just infection. On behalf of the industry, we would like to tell policymakers that sepsis must be managed separately and not be clubbed with infection management. On the R&D front, we need to find out how we can ensure that inflammation as a base cause can be managed better for sepsis.”

     “Sepsis has not been given the recognition it deserves and this is very much on the backburner from the policy point of view. We need to have SOPs and we need to flag sepsis cases in researches by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), continuing medical education (CME), and it should be taken up on priority by policymakers,” said Mr Lov Verma, former Union Secretary of Health, Government of India.

    Noting that awareness regarding sepsis is almost non-existent, and that people have come to know about the problem only during the COVID pandemic, Dr Kishore Kumar, Founder & Chairman, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, said, “Unless we educate and aware the masses, sepsis will remain an enigma. Recently, the Paediatric Association of India has adopted a slogan called AAA— ‘Avoid Antibiotic Abuse’, as antibiotics are prescribed too much in India. About 54 per cent of new-borns in India die of sepsis which is worse than Africa. We need a three-pronged approach — primary prevention, secondary prevention and education and awareness.”

    “Sepsis is the most preventable cause of death. Affecting nearly 50 million and killing almost 11 million out of them annually, sepsis takes life every 2.8 seconds. More people are vulnerable to sepsis than to cancer or cardiovascular diseases because it can be caused by many common diseases such as dengue, malaria, UTIs or even diarrhoea. Among most of the deaths caused in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some can be attributed to this dysregulated immune response. A significant burden of sepsis cases comes from middle income countries of which India is a part,” said Mr Kamal Narayan, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council.

    The World Health Organization defines sepsis as a syndromic response to infection that killed nearly 11 million people worldwide in 2017, and accounted for about 20 per cent of all global deaths. Sepsis affects older persons, pregnant or recently pregnant women, new-borns, patients in intensive care units, and people living with HIV/AIDS, liver cirrhosis, cancer, kidney disease, and autoimmune diseases. It is a leading cause of death in new-borns and women delivering a child.