Infection prevention and control

                                  Overview

                                  Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a practical, evidence-based approach preventing patients and health workers from being harmed by avoidable infections. Effective IPC requires constant action at all levels of the health system, including policymakers, facility managers, health workers and those who access health services. IPC is unique in the field of patient safety and quality of care, as it is universally relevant to every health worker and patient, at every health care interaction. Defective IPC causes harm and can kill. Without effective IPC it is impossible to achieve quality health care delivery.

                                  Infection prevention and control effects all aspects of health care, including hand hygiene, surgical site infections, injection safety, antimicrobial resistance and how hospitals operate during and outside of emergencies. Programmes to support IPC are particularly important in low- and middle-income countries, where health care delivery and medical hygiene standards may be negatively affected by secondary infections.

                                   

                                  WHO Response

                                  Much of the work done on infection prevention and control (IPC) is hidden, as by its nature it prevents issues rather than treating them after the fact. However, health care-associated infections (HAIs) are an ongoing problem that no health authority can afford to ignore. To help in this fight, WHO has created a number of programmes and campaigns that set standards for evidence-based recommendations and operating procedures and promote behaviours to limit avoidable infections.

                                  The first WHO Global Patient Challenge laid the foundations for the IPC Global Unit, which works to support country capacity-building for IPC action. Through this programme, WHO provides technical assistance for developing local IPC policies and guidelines, performs in-country assessments, convenes meetings focused on guideline development and provides ongoing support for health care providers.

                                  WHO also makes a global annual call to action for health workers though the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign held each May. This campaign seeks to educate health workers and patients on the importance of effective hand washing, the need for which has become more acute with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  1 in 10 patients

                                  get an infection

                                  while receiving care

                                  More

                                  Up to 32%

                                  of surgical patients get a post-operative infection

                                  More

                                  50-70% of injections

                                  given in some developing countries are unsafe

                                  More

                                  Publications

                                  Infection prevention and control in primary care: a toolkit of resources

                                  The recently published World Health Organization (WHO) Strengthening infection prevention and control in primary care document collates existing standards,...

                                  This document aims to support those working in primary care to strengthen IPC, informed by existing WHO IPC guidance and implementation resources. Many...

                                  Resource considerations for investing in hand hygiene improvement in health care facilities

                                  Investment in all the drivers and facilitators of hand hygiene action in health care to ensure that it occurs at the point of care and other critical...

                                  9789240011618-eng.pdf

                                  The WHO and UNICEF-led Hand Hygiene for All Initiative aims at ensuring implementation for WHO's global recommendations on hand hygiene to prevent and...

                                  Global report on the epidemiology and burden of sepsis

                                  In this report, we highlight the public health impact of sepsis, with a particular focus on specific populations and those seeking health care, and we...

                                  Implementation manual to prevent and control the spread of carbapenem-resistant organisms at the national and health care facility level

                                  This manual presents a compelling case for action on carbapenem-resistant organisms (CROs) and describes the linkages between the prevention and control of...

                                  Events