Best Practices for Environmental Cleaning in Healthcare Facilities: in Resource-Limited Settings

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are a significant burden globally, with millions of patients affected each year. These infections affect both high- and limited-resource healthcare settings, but in limited-resource settings, rates are approximately twice as high as high-resource settings (15 out of every 100 patients versus 7 out of every 100 patients). Furthermore, rates of infections within certain patient populations are significantly higher in limited-resource settings, including surgical patients, patients in intensive-care units (ICU) and neonatal units. It is well documented that environmental contamination plays a role in the transmission of HAIs in healthcare settings. Therefore, environmental cleaning is a fundamental intervention for infection prevention and control (IPC).It is a multifaceted intervention that involves cleaning and disinfection (when indicated) of the environment alongside other key program elements to support successful implementation (e.g., leadership support, training, monitoring, and feedback mechanisms). To be effective, environmental cleaning activities must be implemented within the framework of the facility IPC program, and not as a standalone intervention. It is also essential that IPC programs advocate for and work with facility administration and government officials to budget, operate and maintain adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure to ensure that environmental cleaning can be performed according to best practices.