It’s in Your Hands – Prevent Sepsis in Health Care

Every year on May 5th, the World Health Organization and its commited partners all around the world celebrate World Hand Hygenie Day as a call to action for health workers, but also to stimulate the general public for why hand hygenie is so crucially important.

This year, the slogan is "It's in your hands - prevent sepsis in health care".

Although 80 % of sepsis cases are contracted outside of a hospital (see video below), hand hygenie plays a huge role in the prevention of infections, which can quickly lead to sepsis.

Therefore, the WHO urges you to focus on the fight against sepsis in the context of hand hygiene and infection prevention in health care.

Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide, and global rates of sepsis are thought to be growing rapidly. At the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017, Member States adopted a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

The WHO Calls to action are: 

  • Health workers: “Take 5 Moments to clean your hands to prevent sepsis in health care."
  • IPC leaders: “Be a champion in promoting hand hygiene to prevent sepsis in health care.”
  • Health facility leaders: "Prevent sepsis in health care, make hand hygiene a quality indicator in your hospital.”
  • Ministries of health: "Implement the 2017 WHA sepsis resolution. Make hand hygiene a national marker of health care quality."
  • Patient advocacy groups: "Ask for 5 Moments of clean hands to prevent sepsis in health care."

We encourage you and your organization to support World Hand Hygenie Day and prevent sepsis in health care!

Marvin Zick
International Sepsis Conference in Sudan & Khartoum Resolution

In Early February, the Sudan Sepsis Alliance hosted the International Sepsis Conference in Khartoum, Sudan.

At this event, the Khartoum Resolution was produced - and Sudan has agreed to host a conference of African Ministers of Health to discuss a joint strategy for Africa. African countries are urged to develop a similar program to tackle sepsis. 

At this opportunity, the Sudan Sepsis Alliance finally received their GSA Award, which it was awarded in 2017 for their major accomplishments in sepsis care and awareness in Sudan. Applications and nominations for the 2018 GSA Awards are now open.

Over 700 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals, and students met at the international sepsis conference organised by the Sudanese Sepsis Alliance on February 1st, 2018, in Khartoum. Participants discussed the challenges and opportunities for improving sepsis care in Sudan and Africa. They also discussed achievements and what needs to be done to improve prevention, recognition, treatment, and rehabilitation. A preconference meeting was also held on the January 31st, 2018, and chaired by Professor Mamoun, Khartoum State Minister of Health.

Most of the participants were from Sudan, however, other African countries such as Nigeria, Djibouti, and Kenya were represented. Representatives from the Global Sepsis Alliance and the African Sepsis Alliance were also present.

The following items are especially important:

  1. The Sudanese Sepsis Alliance was given a prestigious GSA Award. This award recognises all the work they have done to improve sepsis prevention, recognition, and treatment in Sudan.
  2. The Khartoum Resolution was agreed to arrange a conference of African Ministers of Health to develop a joint strategy and plan for sepsis improvement in Africa. Professor Mamoun agreed to sponsor and host the conference within 12 months and in collaboration with the African Union.

Professor Konrad Reinhart, Chair of the Global Sepsis Alliance, said “This is a great achievement for Sudan and the African Continent. Sudan is leading the world in sepsis improvement and other African countries should learn from it”

We urge you to sign the Kampala declaration and support sepsis improvement in Africa. Everybody in Africa has a right to survive sepsis.

Marvin Zick
Invitation to the WSD Supporter Meeting on March 21st at the 38th ISICEM in Brussels/ Belgium
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The GSA will hold its next WSD Supporter Meeting on March 21st, 2018 at the International Symposium of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine. Main topics will be the collaboration with the WHO to roll out the demands of the Resolution on Sepsis, an update on the establishment of regional and national sepsis alliances, the 2nd World Sepsis Congress (September 5th and 6th, 2018), and much more.

Additionally, we are looking forward to your ideas, proposals and suggestions to further improve our GSA activities.

  • Wednesday, 21st March 2018
  • 12:15 to 14:30h
  • Meeting Room: 201 A&B
  • Snacks will be provided
  • Participation is free of charge and open to everyone
Helen Reinke
Gabby's Law

A law known as Gabby’s Law will require Illinois hospitals to be better prepared to recognize and treat patients with sepsis or septic shock. The legislation is named in honor of Gabby Galbo of Monticello, who passed away in 2012 due to untreated sepsis. Following her death, Gabby’s parents, Liz and Tony, began work to pass this legislation, which received unanimous support in both the Senate and the House, to honor her memory.

Gabby Galbo developed an infection from an undetected tick bite that led to sepsis. This law requires hospitals to:

  • Implement an evidence-based process for quickly recognizing and treating adults and children with sepsis.
  • Train staff to identify and treat patients with possible sepsis.
  • Collect sepsis data to improve the quality of care and provide to the state (e.g. sepsis data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting program).
Helen Reinke
Sepsis - The Most Preventable Cause of Death and Disability in Europe - A Call to EU Action

On Tuesday, March 20th, 2018, the Global Sepsis Alliance, jointly with EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, will host the event 'Sepsis - The Most Preventable Cause of Death and Disability in Europe - A Call to EU Action' in Brussels, Belgium.

The event will take place from 14:30 to 20:00 in the Palace of the Académies (Rue Ducale 1, 1000 Brussels), which is in walking distance of both the European Commission as well as the Square Meeting Center, where the 38th ISICEM is held. 

You are hereby cordially invited to join us, the Commissioner, and many more prestigious speakers for this groundbreaking symposium.

This event will highlight the human and economic burden of sepsis in Europe, point out that most sepsis deaths and impairments are preventable, foster the implementation of the requests of the WHO Resolution on Sepsis across the European Union, and call for the development of a Pan-European sepsis strategy. Additionally, this symposium will serve as the kick-off meeting for the European Sepsis Alliance.

Due to limited seating capacity, please RSVP to the event using the button below. We look forward to meeting you in Brussels in March!


Sepsis - The Most Preventable Cause of Death and Disability in Europe - A Call to EU Action
March 20th, 2018, 14:30 to 20:00h
Palace of the Académies, Rue Ducale 1, 1000 Brussels
Use buttons above

Title of Event:
Date & Time:   
RSVP & Program:

Marvin Zick
Redesign of GSA Member Section

Today, we have completely overhauled the GSA Member section, giving it a new design, including new and accurate maps to show where our members are located.
This makes it easier for you to find what you are looking for, get an overview of our members, and see where blind spots for sepsis still exist, quite literally.
The division into six regions is borrowed from the WHO; African Region, Region of the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean Region, European Region, Region of the Americas, South East Asia Region, and Western Pacific Region. 

What do you think about the redesigned member page? Let us know!

Marvin Zick
Apply or Nominate for the 2018 GSA Awards

Applications and nominations for the 2018 GSA Awards are now open - click here to submit your application now.
The GSA Awards honor major contributions in the fight against sepsis every year and are exclusively sponsored by the Erin Kay Flatley Memorial Foundation.
They are granted in three categories:

  1. Governments and Healthcare Authorities
  2. Non-Governmental Organizations, Patient Advocate Groups, or Healthcare Provider Groups
  3. Individual Nominees

In addition to glory, prestige, and a beautiful trophy, winners of category 2 and 3 are awarded with $ 2,500 each.

More information, including requirements for submissions, can be found here

The deadline to apply is March 31st, 2018. Please share this call with your colleagues, friends, and other interested parties.

Marvin Zick
Jay's and Sue's Touching Story of Narrowly Surviving Sepsis
Jay and Sue before and after her sepsis case

Jay and Sue before and after her sepsis case


August 6, 2014 was a typical Oklahoma day with temperatures in the mid-90s (90 F = 32° Celsius) and a heat index of 99. After a family day that included the movies, dinner, and frozen yogurt, Sue started feeling ill with fever and chills and overall body pain, primarily in her neck and throat. Since her symptoms hadn’t subsided, we went to the emergency room in the very early morning hours of August 8th.

On this initial visit to the ER, Sue presented with a high heart rate, low blood pressure, low urine output, slight dehydration, and rated her pain a 9 out of 10. She was tested for strep throat and when the rapid strep test came back negative, the ER doctor diagnosed her with a viral infection, said she would feel worse before she felt better, and prescribed cough syrup with codeine. We didn’t know it at the time, but Sue’s vital signs were critical red flags that she was very ill, but the doctor failed to recognize and act on them. 

Throughout Friday, Sue continued to feel slightly worse and vomited for the first time. We weren’t really concerned because the ER doctor said she would feel worse, but by Saturday morning it was evident we need to go back to the ER immediately. Sue was seen almost immediately and had a blood pressure of 68/42. The second ER doctor thought Sue had urosepsis from a urinary tract infection and said she need to be transported to the ICU. When I asked him how long she would be in ICU, he said probably 3 days.

August 12, 2014, after 3 days in ICU, we said our final goodbyes, as Sue’s kidneys, lungs, and liver had failed and doctors didn’t expect her to survive the night…but they don’t know Sue.  She beat septic shock, but sepsis left her a bilateral below-elbow and bilateral below-knee amputee. Less than 3 months after her amputations, Sue walked on her prosthetic legs for the first time and we went skydiving in August 2015 to celebrate her first “Alive Day”!

Jay and Sue have spoken at hospitals and healthcare systems across the U.S., including Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, as they seek to raise sepsis and limb-loss awareness in the hope other families won’t have to go through what they have. For more information on their story, please visit The whole team here at the Global Sepsis Alliance wishes them only the best and is deeply thankful for being allowed to share their very personal and touching story.

To keep similar stories from happening, please donate to the Global Sepsis Alliance / World Sepsis Day Movement or Sepsis Alliance, so we can continue our quest of educating the whole world about sepsis and its implications, saving millions of lives.

Marvin Zick