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Paediatr Int Child Health. 2013 May;33(2):61-78. doi: 10.1179/2046905513Y.0000000054.

Prevention of nosocomial infections in developing countries, a systematic review.

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Department of Pediatrics, Dr Sardjito Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.



Prevention of nosocomial infection is key to providing good quality, safe healthcare. Infection control programmes (hand-hygiene campaigns and antibiotic stewardship) are effective in reducing nosocomial infections in developed countries. However, the effectiveness of these programmes in developing countries is uncertain.


To evaluate the effectiveness of interventions for preventing nosocomial infections in developing countries.


A systematic search for studies which evaluated interventions to prevent nosocomial infection in both adults and children in developing countries was undertaken using PubMed. Only intervention trials with a randomized controlled, quasi-experimental or sequential design were included. Where there was adequate homogeneity, a meta-analysis of specific interventions was performed using the Mantel-Haenzel fixed effects method to estimate the pooled risk difference.


Thirty-four studies were found. Most studies were from South America and Asia. Most were before-and-after intervention studies from tertiary urban hospitals. Hand-hygiene campaigns that were a major component of multifaceted interventions (18 studies) showed the strongest effectiveness for reducing nosocomial infection rates (median effect 49%, effect range 12.7-100%). Hand-hygiene campaigns alone and studies of antibiotic stewardship to improve rational antibiotic use reduced nosocomial infection rates in three studies [risk difference (RD) of -0.09 (95%CI -0.12 to -0.07) and RD of -0.02 (95% CI -0.02 to -0.01), respectively].


Multifaceted interventions including hand-hygiene campaigns, antibiotic stewardship and other elementary infection control practices are effective in developing countries. The modest effect size of hand-hygiene campaigns alone and negligible effect size of antibiotic stewardship reflect the limited number of studies with sufficient homogeneity to conduct meta-analyses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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