China Makes Strides to Manage Infection

In 2003, China was the focus of worldwide attention as the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), originating on the Chinese mainland, threatened to become a global pandemic. Before the outbreak ended, SARS had spread to 19 countries and resulted in 2,960 cases, with 119 deaths.1 In the intervening years, the Chinese central government has made investments in public health infrastructure to detect and report infectious disease events and enable collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) and other global public health organizations.

However, at the level of the average Chinese hospital, surveillance of infection and programs to detect, prevent and manage healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are not well understood. The numbers paint a compelling picture. One in 10 patients in Chinese hospitals will acquire an HAI, which is twice the rate of HAIs in developed countries. Organisms that are resistant to most, if not all, antibiotics are increasingly common.

By the end of 2008, China had 278,000 health institutions and 613,000 village clinics, 4.036 million hospital beds and 6.169 million health personnel. During this time, the Chinese government made a commitment to building infection prevention and control capacity at the hospital level—a daunting challenge with only a handful of trained infection control experts.

China COE Award

The program began with 12 pilot hospitals in eight provinces. The initial group included the 10 largest hospitals in China, plus two mid-sized institutions. The program has since been expanded to 52 hospitals (all Class A tertiary hospitals) in 13 provinces, including military hospitals. The international collaboration and information exchange is a key component of the Centers of Excellence (COE) program and the basis for the Chinese delegation’s meetings in the United States.

China COE CAO Kozy

During its visit in 2014, the delegation presented at the annual conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) on infection control in China and the BD/CHA COE program. The delegation also met with the infection prevention staff at The Valley Hospital in New Jersey. Their time in the United States also provided an opportunity to engage with BD leadership on the progress of the COE program.

The application of good infection control practice can prevent many HAIs.2 The COE model provides a roadmap for Chinese hospitals to reduce HAIs, prevent unnecessary human suffering and more effectively utilize scarce healthcare resources. With the implementation of this program, we move one step ahead to the BD vision of a future where no one suffers from an infection acquired in a healthcare setting.

1 World Health Organization. SARS (Severe Respiratory Syndrome). 2015. Retrieved from:

2 Control of Health Care-Associated Infections, 1961‒2011. 2015. Retrieved