Globe health

Unsettling Statistics about Infection Prevention

In May 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its first global report1 on infection prevention and control (IPC). This report elaborated on the fight against infection and antimicrobial resistance in addition to the impact to both patients and healthcare workers on a global scale. 

One of the main focuses of the report included healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which are infections that are acquired by either healthcare workers or patients during the course of treatment within a healthcare setting. HAIs may be caused by a variety of invasive medical devices utilized during medical procedures to treat patients. The most common HAIs include catheter-associated urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, and pneumonia.2 

WHO’s global report revealed that good hand hygiene and other cost-effective, IPC programs can help support the reduction of healthcare-related infections by 70%.3 However, according to WHO, the COVID-19 pandemic and other prominent virus outbreaks, have called attention to the degree to which healthcare settings may contribute to the spread of these infections when legitimate IPC programs are not prioritized.3 

Additional unsettling statistics about infection prevention and control include:

  1. “Out of every 100 patients in acute-care hospitals, seven patients in high-income countries and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries will acquire at least one healthcare-associated infection during their hospital stay.”1
  2. “On average, 1 in every 10 affected patients will die from their HAI.”3 
  3. “Approximately 1 in 4 (23.6%) of all hospital-treated sepsis cases are healthcare associated.”1
  4. A 2021-2022 WHO survey indicated only 4 out of 106 (3.8%) assessed countries had all minimum requirements for IPC implemented at the national level.1 
  5. A 2019 WHO survey indicated that at the point of care, only 15.2% of healthcare facilities met all the IPC minimum requirements.1

To download WHO’s Global Report on Infection Prevention and Control, click here

You can also click here for the Executive Summary.

For additional information, relevant publications, and training materials, visit Olympus’ Infection Prevention website by clicking here

Focused on Infection Prevention. Together.


1.    World Health Organization (WHO), Global Report on Infection Prevention and Control. May 23, 2022. Accessed January 2023.
2.    Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, What Is an HAI? Accessed January 2023. 
3.    World Health Organization (WHO), WHO Launches First Ever Global Report on Infection Prevention and Control, May 6, 2022. Accessed January 2023.

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