WHO infection prevention guidelines draw on the work of GCU research

23 May 2017

“Infections acquired during healthcare delivery are a major problem for global health, causing harm to patients and putting the very notion of safe, trusted health systems at risk for all countries," says Dr Edward Kelly from the World Health Organization (WHO).

With one in ten patients acquiring an infection while receiving care, the severity of the problem has led WHO to devise a set of global guidelines to support every country and healthcare facility developing infection and control programmes.

Calling on experts worldwide to prevent healthcare-associated infections, which are avoidable, researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) were commissioned to conduct an evidence review by WHO to contribute to its new Guidelines on Core Components of Infection Prevention and Control Programmes, which is a key priority for WHO.

The Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention (SHIP) Research Group carried out its systematic review into the effectiveness of national-level infection prevention control programmes, with experts Dr Lesley Price and Professor Jacqui Reilly presenting their evidence to the International Guideline Development Committee in Geneva last year.

This work is now included within WHO’s new Guidelines on Core Components of Infection Prevention and is captured in the WHO’s promotional materials which are issued worldwide.

The guidelines promote strong, effective and evidence-based infection prevention and control programmes, forming a key part of the necessary strategies to prevent current and future infectious threats, including antimicrobial resistance and outbreaks of highly transmissible diseases such as Ebola.  

It is intended that WHO’s guidelines will support countries and health care facilities as they develop or strengthen their own approaches to infection prevention and control, including the development of AMR National Action Plans to combat antimicrobial resistance.

GCU-led research has reduced avoidable infections in healthcare in the UK and Europe by stimulating policy debate and investment in new healthcare practice and influencing policy decisions, evidence guidelines, and educational practices.