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Keywords:

  • education;
  • infection control;
  • neonatal intensive care unit;
  • nosocomial infection

Nosocomial infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality for hospitalized neonates. This report describes measures taken to reduce the prevalence of nosocomial infection within a 34-bed neonatal intensive care unit in Malaysia. Interventions included a one-to-one education programme for nursing staff (n = 30); the education of cleaners and health-care assistants allocated to work in the unit; and the introduction of routine (weekly) screening procedure for all infants with feedback given to staff. The education programme for nurses focused on the application of standard precautions to three common clinical procedures: hand washing, tracheobronchial suctioning and nasogastric tube feeding. These were evaluated using competency checklists. The prevalence of nosocomial blood and respiratory tract infections declined over the 7-month study period. This study highlights the importance of education in contributing to the control of nosocomial infection in the neonatal intensive care unit.