A framework for preventing healthcare-associated infection in neonates and children in South Africa
Healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is a frequent and serious complication affecting 4 - 8% of hospitalised children and neonates in high-income countries. The burden of HAI in South African (SA) paediatric and neonatal wards is substantial but underappreciated, owing to a lack of HAI surveillance and reporting. Maternal and child health and infection prevention are priority areas for healthcare quality improvement in the National Core Standards programme. Despite increasing recognition in SA, infection prevention efforts targeting hospitalised children and neonates are hampered by health system, institutional and individual patient factors. To ensure safe healthcare delivery to children, a co-ordinated HAI prevention strategy should promote development of infection prevention norms and policies, education, patient safety advocacy, healthcare infrastructure, surveillance and research. We present a framework for SA to develop and expand HAI prevention in hospitalised neonates and children.
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