Reducing Cord Sepsis in Neonates at Chereponi Government Hospital

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Infections – including cord sepsis – account for 31 percent of all neonatal deaths in Ghana, making it one of the top three causes of mortality for neonates, according to the Ghana Newborn Strategy and Action Plan 2014–2018.

Chereponi Government Hospital, in the Northern Region, observed a high rate of cord sepsis, with an incidence of 9.7 percent and 8.2 percent of all live births in the district for 2015 and 2016, respectively.

In 2016, the USAID Systems for Health project trained district-level staff as quality improvement (QI) coaches to initiate and lead QI projects in health facilities across the country. The training builds staff capacity to address service-delivery gaps with QI methods and, ultimately, improve health outcomes. The QI coaches decided to focus on reducing the rate of cord sepsis in the district by 50 percent — from 8.2 percent to 4.1 percent — by December 2017.

The approach yielded results. At Chereponi Government Hospital, the occurrence of umbilical cord sepsis at the hospital declined remarkably, from 68 in 2016 to 15 in 2017 — a reduction of 80 percent. The gains were larger than expected despite an increase in total birth in the hospital, from 834 in 2016 to 914 in 2017.


A mother and child in Ghana.
A mother and child.
Publication Date 
June 2018
Resource Type 
Success Stories
Regions/ Countries