Healthcare-associated infections in Primary Care Hospitals in Northern Lesotho: A baseline assessment of prevention, care practices and associated burden

Healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs) lead to preventable death and disability, particularly impacting low- and middle-income countries. In rural Lesotho, the absence of core elements of infection prevention and control (IPC) challenges the diagnosis and management of HAIs, oftentimes forcing empirical antibiotic treatment. This, in turn, contributes to the global rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), further complicating the management of once-treatable infections. To realize a cost-effective HAI prevention and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) program tailored to local needs, a comprehensive understanding of the local epidemiology, causes, and risk factors is required.

HantLe is a mixed-method research and implementation project aiming to provide baseline data on HAI, AMR and IPC activities in primary care hospitals in the Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong districts in northern Lesotho. This includes data on in-hospital antibiotic use and prescribing practices, the frequency of colonization with multi-drug resistant organisms among inpatients and perioperative IPC practices, along with the launch of a study focusing on surgical site infections after Caesarean sections. For the detection of bacterial infections and the identification of multidrug-resistant organisms, local partner laboratories’ capacities in basic microbiological diagnostics will be strengthened. All project parts aim to inform future interventions enhancing patient outcomes through evidence-based infection control- and antimicrobial stewardship strategies.

Contact persons

Anne-Valérie Burgener-Gasser

Nikita Sass