Survey of National Surgical Site Infection Surveillance Programs in Low-and Middle-Income Countries

Joseph D. Forrester, Allison E. Berndtson, Jarrett Santorelli, Eric Raschke, Thomas G. Weiser, Andre V. Coombs, Robert G. Sawyer, Jesse Chou, Hunter P. Knight, Julie Y. Valenzuela, Jennifer Rickard

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1 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical site infection (SSI) surveillance programs are strongly recommended as a core component of effective national infection prevention and control (IPC) programs. Participation in national SSI surveillance (nSSIS) programs has been shown to decrease reported SSIs among high-income countries (HICs), and it is expected that the same is possible among low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). We sought to determine what, if any nSSIS programs exist among LMICs. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed to evaluate existence of nSSIS of World Bank-defined LMICs. A digital survey assessment for presence of national IPC and nSSIS programs was delivered to persons capable of identifying the presence of such a program. Statistical analysis was performed using STATA. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained for this study. Results: Of the 137 countries identified, 55 (40%) were upper middle income (UMI), 47 (34%) were lower middle income (LMI), and 34 (25%) were low income. Representatives from 39 (28%) LMICs completed the survey. Of these respondent countries, 13 (33%) reported the presence of a national IPC program. There was no difference between countries with IPC programs and those without with respect to country income designation, population size, World Health Organization region, or conflict status. Only five (13% of all respondents) reported presence of a nSSIS program. Conclusions: National surgical site infection surveillance programs are an integral component of a country's ability to provide safe surgical procedures. Presence of nSSIS was reported infrequently in LMICs. International governing bodies should be encouraged to guide LMIC leadership in establishing a nSSIS infrastructure that will help enable safe surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-625
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical infections
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • developing world
  • infection surveillance
  • surgical infections
  • surgical quality

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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