An NGO, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, is working with healthcare facilities in the country to create awareness with improved advocacy on hand hygiene to combat sepsis.

Its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs Amy Oyekunle, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.

Common signs and symptoms include fever, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate and confusion.

Oyekunle spoke in commemoration of the Maternal Sepsis Day marked annually on May 15.

She said: “In spite of the high maternal mortality rate of 17 per cent, Nigerians are largely less aware of the severity, cause, signs and symptoms, and need for immediate medical attention on discovery of symptoms.

“Since the launch of the campaign to combat maternal deaths from sepsis in 2018, the foundation has gone on to partner with several hospitals across the country, with which we have other life saving projects.

“We also partnered with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to drive the hand hygiene component of the campaign, across several healthcare facilities, schools and local communities.

“This is part of our holistic Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme.

“We train in-facility personnel on proper hand hygiene and sanitation, especially in delivery rooms to mitigate the prevalence of this disease.’’

Oyekunle said that the foundation had trained over 70 midwives on the WHO techniques on hand hygiene.

She also said that the midwives were empowered to effectively train other healthcare personnel within the various facilities in order to curb the disease.

“The key challenge, however, is the apparent insufficient and lack of infrastructural development of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities within hospitals, therefore increasing the risk of infection.

“The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is however glad that soon after we announced our WASH campaign in May 2018, the Federal Government declared a state of emergency on the water sector, a strategic national move to improve the sector,’’ Oyekunle said.