Infection prevention and control in maternal and neonatal care training toolkit

WHO recently launched a new training course on infection prevention and control for maternal and neonatal care. The course is aimed at staff working in maternal and neonatal wards, specifically, antenatal care outpatient services, maternal and neonatal inpatient services, and neonatal intensive care services.

The course is divided into 6 sessions. The first session covers the essential knowledge of standard precautions required for good infection prevention and control. The other five sessions develop this knowledge and apply it clinically to common situations in antenatal care, labour, childbirth and neonatal care. Currently the first three sessions are available.

  • Module 1: Introduction to Infection prevention and control
  • Module 2: Care of the pregnant woman in antenatal clinic
  • Module 3: Admission of the pregnant woman, labour and uncomplicated childbirth
  • Module 4: When interventions are required in labour (in production)
  • Module 5: Caesarean section (in production)
  • Module 6: Special neonatal circumstances (in production)

Registration is open through openWHO.


World Sepsis Day 2021 and new GLOSS publication

On World Sepsis Day we renew our commitment to raise awareness of sepsis and increase efforts to reduce the worldwide burden of this life-threatening condition. Latest estimates pose that about 11 million people each year because of sepsis and evidence from GLOSS has shown the significant impact sepsis has on maternal mortality and morbidity. New evidence suggests that about one third of all births from women with infection were severe perinatal outcomes (neonatal near-miss or perinatal death).

Please help us amplify the messages around maternal sepsis and share the GLOSS-related publications widely:

Also visit our Resources page for other materials developed for the study and campaign.


New GLOSS publication: an analysis of study facilities

A new paper on an analysis of GLOSS participating facilities was published in Lancet Global Health. It showed that availability of resources and services necessary to prevent, identify, and manage maternal infections in facilities that participated in GLOSS did not always result in better maternal outcomes. In fact, it showed that individual women’s characteristics known to be associated with poor maternal outcomes, such as pre-existing conditions, are more probable predictors of severe outcomes than characteristics of a health facility (e.g. medical supplies and equipment).

To read the full article, please click here.

Remember to visit our resources page for other resources to use in your facilities.





Background: Infections are among the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. The Global Maternal Sepsis and Neonatal Initiative, launched in 2016 by WHO and partners, sought to reduce the burden of maternal infections and sepsis and was the basis upon which the Global Maternal Sepsis Study (GLOSS) was implemented in 2017. In this Article, we aimed to describe the availability of facility resources and services and to analyse their association with maternal outcomes.

Methods: GLOSS was a facility-based, prospective, 1-week inception cohort study implemented in 713 health-care facilities in 52 countries and included 2850 hospitalised pregnant or recently pregnant women with suspected or confirmed infections. All women admitted for or in hospital with suspected or confirmed infections during pregnancy, childbirth, post partum, or post abortion at any of the participating facilities between Nov 28 and Dec 4 were eligible for inclusion. In this study, we included all GLOSS participating facilities that collected facility-level data (446 of 713 facilities). We used data obtained from individual forms completed for each enrolled woman and their newborn babies by trained researchers who checked the medical records and from facility forms completed by hospital administrators for each participating facility. We described facilities according to country income level, compliance with providing core clinical interventions and services according to women’s needs and reported availability, and severity of infection-related maternal outcomes. We used a logistic multilevel mixed model for assessing the association between facility characteristics and infection-related maternal outcomes.

Findings: We included 446 facilities from 46 countries that enrolled 2560 women. We found a high availability of most services and resources needed for obstetric care and infection prevention. We found increased odds for severe maternal outcomes among women enrolled during the post-partum or post-abortion period from facilities located in low-income countries (adjusted odds ratio 1·84 [95% CI 1·05–3·22]) and among women enrolled during pregnancy or childbirth from non-urban facilities (adjusted odds ratio 2·44 [1·02–5·85]). Despite compliance being high overall, it was low with regards to measuring respiratory rate (85 [24%] of 355 facilities) and measuring pulse oximetry (184 [57%] of 325 facilities).

Interpretation: While health-care facilities caring for pregnant and recently pregnant women with suspected or confirmed infections have access to a wide range of resources and interventions, worse maternal outcomes are seen among recently pregnant women located in low-income countries than among those in higher-income countries; this trend is similar for pregnant women. Compliance with cost-effective clinical practices and timely care of women with particular individual characteristics can potentially improve infection-related maternal outcomes.

GLOSS awareness campaign evaluation

We now have the results of the evaluation of the STOP SEPSIS! awareness campaign published! This is the campaign that accompanied GLOSS, which looked at the frequency and management of maternal infections in facilities. The GLOSS STOP SEPSIS! campaign aimed to increase awareness among healthcare providers.

To help us disseminate these news please use the links below:

Help us spread the word and help us STOP SEPSIS!

Save Lives campaign: Nurses and Midwives, clean care is in your hands!

Clean hands save lives! Today, 05 May 2020, is the global save lives campaign.

And on the year of the nurse and midwife the focus is on them. We are joining WHO in calling all health workers to join hands in celebrating nurses and midwives in the work that they do to keep our women and newborns safe by preventing health care-associated infections.

Find all the materials for this year’s campaign here.

And read the special news story on nurses and midwives saving lives.

GLOSS results are out!

The results from the global maternal sepsis study are out! The data on frequency and management of maternal infections obtained from 713 healthcare facilities in 52 countries have just been published. Te help us disseminate these results please use the links below.

Help us spread the word and help us STOP SEPSIS!

Raising global awareness on maternal sepsis

Our collective efforts to raise awareness on maternal sepsis did not end with the GLOSS awareness campaign. Our colleagues from Philippines describe what they have been doing country-wide in the latest edition of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Magazine published by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Follow this link to learn more about what has been learned through GLOSS and done since to stop sepsis:

You can access the entire issue following this link:

World Sepsis Day 2019

Today, 13 September, is World Sepsis Day and we are all still working hard at preventing, managing, and preventing maternal sepsis. Our colleagues from Philippines have been working especially hard at putting together a country-wide awareness campaign to “avoid infection during pregnancy and save lives.” The campaign came about upon findings from implementation of GLOSS:

  • 45% of women who participated in the study had an infection, yet its primary source was not identified
  • 48% were diagnosed based on clinical examination
  • 15% were diagnosed based on laboratory tests
  • 55% of the women had an infection on the day of admission to the hospital
  • 45% developed an infection while already in the hospital

In addition, a maternal death review of 108 women found that 9% of deaths in the Philippines were due to sepsis.

This is why the Philippines Department of Health in collaboration of the Philippine Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (PIDSOG), and the Philippine Hospital Infection Control Society (PHICS) are leading a country-wide campaign that will target primary care providers and institutions using posters and education. Congratulations, Philippines!


Join the global community in raising awareness on sepsis. Follow this link for materials to use in your facilities and work settings.

AWaRe: handle antibiotics with care

WHO launched a global campaign to urge governments to adopt a tool, the AWaRe tool, to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events, and costs. The tool classifies antibiotics from the WHO Essential Medicine’s list into three groups:

  • Access
  • Watch
  • Reserve

Join the global campaign by visiting the website and pledging to handle antibiotics with care.

Link to website:


WASH in healthcare facilities – a baseline report from WHO-UNICEF

WHO, together with UNICEF, published their first comprehensive global assessment of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities compiling data from 125 countries, representing over 560,000 facilities. It reports that one in four health care facilities lack basic water services and one in five has no sanitation service – impacting 2.0 billion and 1.5 billion people, respectively. The report also reveals that many health centres lack basic facilities for hand hygiene and safe segregation and disposal of health care waste. Inequities are highlighted, including that non-hospitals, such as primary health care facilities, are twice as likely to have no water or sanitation services.

The report estimates that 1 in 5 births globally takes place in least developed countries where half of the healthcare facilities have basic water services. Each year 17 million women give birth in facilities with inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene.

You can download the report here and/or visit the data portal here.

The press release for the report can be found here.

WASH in health care facilities

1 in 4 health care facilities ? around the ??? lacks basic water services?, impacting over 2 BILLION people.

Gepostet von World Health Organization (WHO) am Dienstag, 2. April 2019