Helge Karch

Prize for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention 2013

They are called MRSA or ESBL and they are increasingly dominating the headlines: dangerous bacteria that can survive an attack by most antibiotics. Such multi-resistant pathogens are spreading all the time and causing thousands of fatalities – also in German hospitals. Up to now, high-performance medicine has had little to offer to counter the threat.

The Münster model for hospital hygiene and infection prevention proves that targeted action does pay off. It shows that the risk can be contained if excellent basic researchers collaborate closely with hospitals and general practitioners within a region. The initiative was launched by a young team led by Professor Helge Karch at the University of Münster.

Karch and his team have today been awarded the ‘Prize for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention’ by the Berlin-based Robert Koch Foundation for their pioneering work. The Director of the Institute of Hygiene at University Hospital, Münster, is the first winner of this newly created award, which is worth €50,000. The prize-giving ceremony took place in the ceremonial hall of Berlin City Hall in the presence of high-ranking personalities, including Thomas Ilka, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health. Before the ceremony, Federal Minister for Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) personally congratulated the prizewinner on receiving this prestigious award. “With this newly-created award, the Robert Koch Foundation has made an important contribution to improving hygiene and preventing infection in German hospitals”, said Bahr.