Preventing sepsis in healthcare: It's in your hands

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Clean hands save lives. That’s why this year, on May 5 to mark both Hand Hygiene Day and International Day of the Midwife, SaniTap is supporting the World Health Organisation’s Campaign focussed on the prevention of Sepsis, the cause of an estimated 6 million deaths every year.

Sepsis occurs when the body is responding to infection; it can lead to organ failure, shock and death. It is a leading cause of death for patients, particularly mothers and new-borns. Infections, including Sepsis, led to nearly 400,000 new-born deaths in 2016 alone and is the third most common cause of maternal mortality. 

When proper handwashing and clean birth practices are put in place, a potential 44% increase in new-born survival rates is expected. To prevent the spread of sepsis, healthcare staff must be able to wash or disinfect their hands at critical moments. Yet globally it is estimated that 66% of health facilities in low-middle income countries (LMICs) often find themselves without the basic supplies and infrastructure required to do this.

Put simply, quality healthcare is impossible without WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). It is important to recognise it’s not just access to water and soap that is integral, but wider behaviour change education and adoption is also key.


Advice for Health Professionals on how to prevent sepsis from the World Heath Organisation:

HEALTH WORKERS: Prevent sepsis by cleaning your hands at five key moment. Encourage your colleagues to do the same.

LEADERS IN INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL: Promote and champion hand hygiene to prevent sepsis.

HEALTH FACILITY LEADERS: Ensure than hand hygiene is a quality indicator in your facility.

MINISTRIES OF HEALTH: Implement the 2017 WHA sepsis resolution. Make hand hygiene a national marker of health care quality, monitoring access to soap and water as well as hand hygiene behaviour.

PATIENT ADVOCACY GROUPS: Demand providers observe the five key moment of clean hands to prevent sepsis in healthcare.

If you want to get involved and support WHO in it’s goal to drive sepsis, help today - share this article, and advocate for improved water, health and sanitation in health facilities.  If you are interested in how the SaniTap can be used to achieve that goal, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Daniel Webb