Philadelphia, PA- On Tuesday, June 30, 2015, Philadelphia’s Greek-American community gathered at Estia Restaurant in Philadelphia to learn about the Collaborative Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes (CLEO) presented by Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis, M.D., M.S.C.E. Established in 2011, CLEO is a joint effort between the Department of Pediatrics of the “Aghia Sophia” and Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece and the Department of Pediatrics “P. & A. Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece.
At the tender age of 5, Paul Offit, a native of Baltimore, spent several months in 1956 in the city’s Kernan Hospital for Crippled Children while recovering from a clubfoot operation. Housed with him were around 20 children crippled from polio, a debilitating and paralyzing disease for which there was a new vaccine, but one which had not yet reached popular use.
Parents of the children in the hospital, which has been renamed and is now a part of the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute, were only allowed to visit for one hour each week on Sunday. Offit’s mother was pregnant at the time and unable to visit him, and he can vividly recall staring out the window, awaiting his father’s weekly return.
This distressing childhood experience would remain with Offit, and guide and influence his future work in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases.
Recent data show that two pediatric hospitals in Greece had low rates of hand hygiene, supporting the notion that health care-associated infection rates in Greece are among the highest in Europe.
Hand hygiene is a significant and timely issue in Greece. The economic crisis has increased financial burden of public hospitals, which has led to understaffing, lack of supplies, increased admissions, and crowding, according to Sofia Kouni, MD, MSc, of the University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece, and colleagues.