Gauteng Health puts Infection Prevention and Control Measures in place

Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital

In 2013, 2239 babies were admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), of that number 232 died. In 2018, 1604 were admitted to the NICU, with 302 of those babies dying. The increase in the number of deaths is as a result of prematurity. The number of babies admitted for prematurity increased significantly from 27% of total admissions in 2013 to 44% of total admissions in 2018.

Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital

They recorded in-facility maternal mortality rate (MMR) for the period between 1 January -30th September 2019 was 211.8 per 100 000, with the neonatal mortality rate (NMR at an average of 19.2 per 1000. The hospital had 6198 deliveries in the same period, with 118 of those resulting in neonatal deaths.

The causes of death were:
Sepsis: 38
Prematurity: 33
Asphyxia: 31
Congenital abnormality: 14
Meconium Aspiration: 2

The high mortality rates can be attributed to the high burden of disease in pregnant patients, a high number of referrals of high-risk patients from surrounding clinics and district hospitals, inadequate infrastructure to accommodate all neonates resulting in overcrowding of the neonatal ward increasing the risk of sepsis.

Furthermore, staff shortages impact negatively on health outcomes, premature babies require higher-skilled dedicated nurses.

As part of initiatives to strengthen Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures at Dr George Mukhari and Thelle Mogoerane Hospitals Neonatal Intensive Care Units the following measures have been put in place:

The staff is trained on handwashing techniques which is ongoing. The hand hygiene policy was reviewed, and staff training policy has been strengthened.
Each facility has set up a quality improvement team that monitors the Neonatal Ward’s cleanliness daily. The feedback from Microbiology Department is presented weekly at the Mortality and Morbidity meetings. One of the interventions of strengthening IPC measures at Neonatal ward is the cohorting of septic babies which is routinely done.

For more information contact
Kwara Kekana, Spokesperson: MEC for Health
074 054 3826 or
Philani Mhlungu, Media Liaison Officer: MEC for Health
060 961 2627 or
For media releases, speeches and news visit the Gauteng Department of Health’s portal at

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