Preventing Intensive Care Admissions for Sepsis in Tropical Africa (PICASTA): An Extension of the International Pediatric Global Sepsis Initiative

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



The Global Sepsis Initiative recommends prevention of sepsis through immunizations, vitamins, breast feeding, and other important interventions. In our study, we consider a second set of proposals for preventing intensive care admissions for sepsis in tropical Africa, which have been specifically designed to further prevent ICU admissions for sepsis in the group A nation hospital setting.


To reduce admissions with severe sepsis in an ICU of a group A nation through the identification of challenges leading to preventable, foreseeable, or nosocomial sepsis specific to our setting.


Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Lacking the ability to comply with standard sepsis treatment, we conducted over 4 years several studies, audits, and surveys to identify challenges leading to preventable pediatric sepsis in our setting. We developed a method to identify malnourished children through a “gatekeeper” in the theaters without any equipment, tried to implement the World Health Organization’s Safe Surgery Campaign checklist, evaluated our educational courses for the districts to improve the quality of referrals, looked into the extreme fasting times discovered in our hospital, trained different cadres in the districts to deal with peripartal and posttraumatic sepsis, and identified the needs in human resources to deal with pediatric sepsis in our setting.


Six foci were identified as promising to work on in future. Focus 1: Preventing elective operations and procedures in malnourished children in the hospital and in the district: 134 of 145 nurses (92.4%) and even 25 of 31 African laymen (80.6%) were able to identify malnourished children with their own fingers. Focus 2: Preventing sepsis-related problems in emergencies through the implementation of the Safe Surgery Campaign checklist: only 100 of 689 forms (14.5%) were filled in due to challenges in ownership, communication responsibility, and time constraints. Focus 3: Preventing sepsis through the reduction of unwise referrals: our courses toward this topic reached 82–100% satisfaction of the 391 participants for relevance, presentation applicability, content, and teaching technique. Focus 4: Preventing sepsis-related problems through reduction of excessive fasting times in our hospital: necessity for action was documented by a mean fasting time of 10.2 hours (SD, 4.4 hr). Focus 5: Concentration on two extremely sepsis-relevant health challenges for children in Malawian districts, trauma and peripartal complications: numbers after our courses in the trained two districts showed a reduction in the maternal mortality rate (from 150.3 to 55 and 234.2 to 75.2), an inconclusive result for posttraumatic deaths and the identification of 44 future instructors. Focus 6: Implementation of a Master in Medicine (anesthesia and intensive care) and improvement of training in anesthesia for all cadres resulted in the first five anesthetic registrars in training and enhanced numbers in all other cadres in anesthesia dealing in own responsibility with pediatric sepsis.


Every hospital can try to improve sepsis prevention on a local level by the Preventing Intensive Care Admissions for Sepsis in Tropical Africa approach. This will help support the promotion of the regionally adjusted Global Sepsis Initiative guidelines and the future global implementation of feasible bundles as a gold standard for resource-poor countries.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles