Healthcare-Associated Infections in Ghana

Start date
May 1, 2016
End date
April 30, 2021
Project code
Thematic areas
Total grant
Contact person
Mercy Newman

Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) comprise one of the most common, significant and preventable patient safety issue worldwide. The challenge of HCAIs in Ghana and other developing countries is estimated to be high but scarcely addressed. We postulate that a high prevalence of HCAIs in Ghanaian healthcare settings leads to high patient morbidity and mortality, prolonged hospital stay, reduced quality of life as well as increased economic costs to patients and the health sector. This project aims to improve patient safety by reducing and preventing HCAIs through surveillance and effective infection control. This requires an interdisciplinary approach and the project involves collaboration and research capacity building within the fields of surveillance, clinical research, microbiology, ethnographic health facility research and cost-analysis. We will conduct a point prevalence survey among 6 selected hospitals from the Northern, Middle and Southern sectors of Ghana to assess the burden of HCAIs. A prospective survey focusing on surgical site infections, healthcare associated neonatal sepsis and puerperal infections will be conducted in 2 hospitals to generate data on the epidemiology, socioeconomic impact of HCAIs and socio-cultural barriers to infection control. We will pilot a surveillance system for surgical site infections in partnership with Ghana Health Service and evaluate cost-effectiveness of selected infection control interventions in reducing health care related puerperal and neonatal sepsis. There is a great need to intervene against HCAIs in Ghana to avoid jeopardizing the benefits of the increased uptake of facility-based healthcare services experienced in the country over the past decade. Prevention of HCAIs among mothers and neonates could further accelerate progress towards the attainment of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5. Finally, reductions in HCAI are likely to result in cost savings, thereby allowing resources to be used for provision of other healthcare services.


First-year report 2016:

The overall objective was to build research capacity in clinical microbiology, interventional studies, cost analysis and ethnographic health facility research related to HCAIs. Through a competitive and rigorous process, qualified candidates from Ghana have been awarded PhD and Post-doc fellowships. These candidates will be working under different work packages (WPs) to achieve the overall objective of the project.

The broad areas under the WPs are as follows:
WP1 – Prevalence of HAI
WP2 – Surgical Site Infection Surveillance
WP3 – Neonatal Sepsis
WP4 - Puerperal SepsisWP5 – HAI ethnography
WP6 - Costing of HAI

A major milestone for the first year was to carry out a Point Prevalence Survey (PPS). We applied and obtained ethical clearance for this PPS. We conducted the PPS survey between September and December 2016. Data is being sorted out for analysis.

The PhDs and post-docs are working on the individual research proposals, all to achieve the overall aim of the project.