Healthcare-associated infections among neonates and children in Pakistan: findings and the implications from a point prevalence survey

Z. U. Mustafa*, A. H. Khan, M. Salman, S. N. Harun, J. C. Meyer, B. Godman, R. A. Seaton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) increase morbidity, mortality and costs. The overall prevalence of HAIs is greater in low- and middle-income countries due to poor resources and infrastructure, with the incidence of HAIs greater among neonates and children. There is a need to understand the current situation in Pakistan including key drivers to improve future care. Methods: Point prevalence survey (PPS) of HAIs in the children's wards of 19 public sector secondary- and tertiary-care hospitals of Pakistan and associated key drivers. Results: A total of 1147 children were included in the PPS. 35.7% were neonates with 32.8% aged >1–5 years. 35.2% were admitted to the intensive care units (ICUs). Peripheral, central venous and urinary catheters were present in 48%, 2.9% and 5.6% of the patients, respectively. A total of 161 HAIs from various pathogens were observed in 153 cases, giving a prevalence of 13.3%. The majority of HAIs were caused by Staphylococcus aureus (31.7%) followed by Klebsiella pneumoniae (22.9%) and Escherichia coli (17.4%). Bloodstream infections were identified in 42 cases followed by lower-respiratory-tract infections in 35. Increased length of hospital stays and being admitted to the ICU, ‘rapidly fatal’ patients under the McCabe and Jackson criteria, central and peripheral catheterization, and invasive mechanical ventilation were, associated with higher HAIs (P<0.001). 99.7% of HAI patients fully recovered and were discharged from the hospital. Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of HAIs among neonates and children admitted to health facilities in Pakistan. Infection prevention and control measures should be implemented to help prevent future HAIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-151
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Children
  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Hospitals
  • Neonates
  • Pakistan
  • Prevalence


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