Jim Matthew Lecture
The importance of hand hygiene at home and in health facilities for preventing infections has been known about for centuries, and sadly reinforced in the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This key behaviour has, however, proven resistant to improvement. Findings from clinical settings around the world typically show hand washing being missed on more than half of the occasions when it should be practiced. This presentation will explore the drivers of this stubborn yet basic behaviour in the context of maternity units in low-income settings, where hygiene can make a difference between life and death. Each year an estimated million mothers and babies die of infections owing to poor practices at the time of delivery. In this talk, lessons will be shared from several countries on the bottlenecks to improving hygiene behaviour on maternity units, as well as the opportunities for achieving real progress in the 21st century.
Speaker biography: Wendy Graham is Professor of Obstetrics and Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Emeritus Professor at the University of Aberdeen. She trained at Sheffield and then Oxford University, and has specialist interests in the prevention of maternal mortality, and in healthcare-associated infections in mothers and newborns.
Professor Graham has undertaken collaborative research in many countries over the last 25 years, with partnership projects currently in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Gambia, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. She was an evidence adviser for the UK Department for International Development for three years, and is currently the Chief Scientific Adviser to a new charitable trust focused on preventing infections during childbirth (The Soapbox Collaborative). She also serves on expert panels and collaborates with many international organisations, NGOs and foundations, such as the World Health Organization, WaterAid, UNICEF and the Wellcome Trust.
Refreshments will be served after the lecture.