WHO publish global report on infection prevention and control

10 May 2022

Article: 56/1806

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the first global report on infection prevention and control (IPC), providing a global situation analysis of how IPC programmes are being implemented in countries around the world, including regional and country focuses. While highlighting the harm to patients and healthcare workers caused by healthcare associated infections (HAIs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the report also addresses the impact and cost-effectiveness of IPC programmes and the strategies and resources available to countries to improve them.

The COVID-19 pandemic and other recent large disease outbreaks have highlighted the extent to which health care settings can contribute to the spread of infections, harming patients, health workers and visitors, if insufficient attention is paid to IPC. The report shows that where good hand hygiene and other cost-effective practices are followed, 70% of those infections can be prevented.

Currently, out of every 100 patients in acute-care hospitals, seven patients in high-income countries and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries will acquire at least one HAI during their hospital stay. On average, one in every ten affected patients will die from their HAI.

The report reveals that high-income countries are more likely to be progressing their IPC work and are eight times more likely to have a more advanced IPC implementation status than low-income countries. Indeed, little improvement was seen between 2018 and 2021 in the implementation of IPC national programmes in low-income countries, despite increased attention being paid generally to IPC due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: WHO, 6 May 2022