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Background: Healthcare associated infections is a global burden and is one of the main causes of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality during the time of labour when admitted to the hospital. Healthcare workers´ hands are in most cases the vehicle for transmission of microorganisms from patient to patient.Good hand hygiene practices at the bedside are a simple way of reducing healthcare associated infections. The objective was to assess the impact of a criterion-based audit on infection prevention performance and knowledge during vaginal delivery at a hospital in Tanzania. The quantitative findings were discussed with staff to identify barriers and solutions to quality improvement.
Methods: A mixed-method uncontrolled, before and after intervention study by criterion-based audit was performed at the labour ward at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. Criteria for best practice were established together with key staff based on national and international guidelines. Sixty clean procedures during vaginal birth were observed and assessed by a structured checklist based on the audit criteria. Baseline findings were discussed with staff and an intervention performed including a short training and preparation of alcohol-based hand rub. Hereafter another 60 clean procedures were observed, and performance compared to the care before the intervention. Furthermore, a knowledge test was performed before and after the intervention.
Results: Hand washing increased significantly after a procedure from 46.7% to 80% (RR=1.71 95% CI; 1.27 to 2.31), the use of alcohol-based hand rub before a procedure from 1.7% to 33.3% (p<0.001), and the use of alcohol-based hand rub after procedure from 0% to 30% (p<0.001). After the intervention the mean score for the knowledge test increased insignificantly from 59.3% to 65.3%, (mean difference = 6.1%, 95% CI; -4.69 to 16.88).
Conclusion: The criterion-based audit process identified substandard care for infection prevention at the labour ward. An intervention of discussing baseline findings and a short training session and introducing alcohol-based hand rub resulted in improvements on infection prevention performance.