Paediatrics and international child health 2017 03 16() 1-7 doi 10.1080/20469047.2017.1299897
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) impact care and costs in hospitals across the globe. There are minimal data on HAIs in sub-Saharan Africa and data specific to paediatrics are especially limited.
To describe the incidence of HAIs in the paediatric medical units at Grey’s Hospital, a tertiary government hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) team collects data on all laboratory-confirmed infections, including from paediatric patients in two medical units (52 beds), the paediatric intensive/high-care unit (PICU, 8 beds) and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU, 23 beds). HAIs are defined as infections: (i) not present (active or incubating) at the time of admission, and (ii) with onset >48 h after hospital admission. Daily patient statistics allow calculation of infections per 100 admissions and infections per 1000 patient days.
In the non-ICU setting, there were 7.1 and 7.0 HAIs per 100 admissions in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In the PICU, there were 20.4 and 15.3 HAIs per 100 admissions, while in the NICU there were 23.9 and 21.6 HAIs per 100 admissions in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In the non-ICU setting, there were 6.8 HAIs per 1000 patient days in both 2013 and 2014. In the PICU, there were 27.5 and 33.0 HAIs per 1000 patient days, while in the NICU, there were 20.3 and 21.5 HAIs per 1000 patient days in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
HAIs in non-ICU paediatric wards were consistent with a number of point-prevalence studies performed outside Africa (e.g. Canada, Russia, U.K.). Rates of HAIs in the ICUs were higher than rates reported from the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium, and were substantially higher than rates reported in the United States. HAIs are serious and important, especially in ICUs, and may be relatively neglected in low- and middle-income settings. Improved surveillance will allow the development and evaluation of targeted interventions to improve care of patients.