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Neonatal sepsis task force

12 Nov 2020
The neonatal sepsis task force is co-chaired by Professors Angela Dramowski and Nelesh Govender. This is a partnership between the Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of Southern Africa (FIDSSA: www.fidssa.co.za) and the United South African Neonatal Association (USANA: https://usana.org.za/). The task force was launched in 2019 at both USANA and FIDSSA conferences. Task force members are invited from the membership of FIDSSA and USANA.

The neonatal sepsis task force is co-chaired by Professors Angela Dramowski and Nelesh Govender. This is a partnership between the Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of Southern Africa (FIDSSA: www.fidssa.co.za) and the United South African Neonatal Association (USANA: https://usana.org.za/). The task force was launched in 2019 at both USANA and FIDSSA conferences. Task force members are invited from the membership of FIDSSA and USANA.

2020 activities

Led by the co-chairs, a paper was published in the South African Medical Journal in 2020 outlining the purpose and proposed activities of the task force: http://www.samj.org.za/index.php/samj/article/view/12930  

Professors Angela Dramowski and Adrie Bekker wrote an opinion piece written on COVID and neonates: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-07-28-vital-to-protect-newborns-and-their-mothers-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Recently, Professor Sithembiso Velaphi presented in a session on behalf of task force at the World Health Summit, 25 October 2020: https://www.conference.worldhealthsummit.org/Program/WHS2020

Several key research projects, led by or involving task force members, are ongoing that will provide data to inform the task force with regard to baseline infection and antimicrobial resistance rates:

  1. Neo-OBS https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03721302
  2. Baby GERMS (PI: N. Govender) https://www.nicd.ac.za/centres/centre-for-healthcare-associated-infections-antimicrobial-resistance-and-mycoses/
  3. Neonatal BSI antibiotic WISCA (PI: A. Dramowski)

Current antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) and infection prevention and control (IPC) projects

  1. Inspire (PI: S. Velaphi) https://www.fidssa.co.za/NewsEvent/FullArticle/8ff1d28e-11ee-4bce-8e29-65bc78cc225c
  2. The South African Pharmacist Antimicrobial Stewardship Study Alliance has recently invited the task force to be involved in a pharmacist-led AMS project in neonatal units.

Task force members are also involved in multi-centre clinical trials of old and new antibiotics.

Proposed activities for 2021

The National Department of Health is planning to revise national neonatal guideline. The task force plans to propose that this guideline includes a chapter on IPC and audits for infection in neonatal units.

Upcoming events

The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), in collaboration with the World Health Organization will host a live webinar at 11.30 am South African time (10.30 CET) on Friday, November 20, which is Universal Children’s Day. It’s being held during World AMR Week and will focus on the challenges in treating newborns suffering from drug resistant sepsis. It will also discuss finding new treatment options. Join here: https://bit.ly/3lSiyAv

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