Background: National responses to healthcare-associated infections vary between high-income countries, but, when analysed for contextual comparability, interventions can be assessed for transferability. Aim: To identify learning from country-level approaches to addressing meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Japan and England. Methods: A longitudinal analysis (2000–2017), comparing epidemiological trends and policy interventions. Data from 441 textual sources concerning infection prevention and control (IPC), surveillance, and antimicrobial stewardship interventions were systematically coded for: (a) type: mandatory requirements, recommendations, or national campaigns; (b) method: restrictive, persuasive, structural in nature; (c) level of implementation: macro (national), meso (organizational), micro (individual) levels. Healthcare organizational structures and role of media were also assessed. Findings: In England significant reduction has been achieved in number of reported MRSA bloodstream infections. In Japan, in spite of reductions, MRSA remains a predominant infection. Both countries face new threats in the emergence of drug-resistant Escherichia coli. England has focused on national mandatory and structural interventions, supported by a combination of outcomes-based incentives and punitive mechanisms, and multi-disciplinary IPC hospital teams. Japan has focused on (non-mandatory) recommendations and primarily persuasive interventions, supported by process-based incentives, with voluntary surveillance. Areas for development in Japan include resourcing of dedicated data management support and implementation of national campaigns for healthcare professionals and the public. Conclusion: Policy interventions need to be relevant to local epidemiological trends, while acceptable within the health system, culture, and public expectations. Cross-national learning can help inform the right mix of interventions to create sustainable and resilient systems for future infection and economic challenges.
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Healthcare-associated infections
- Infection prevention and control
- Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus