Newborn Sepsis

Infant being held

Thirty-eight percent of under-five deaths occur in the neonatal period, i.e., the first four weeks of life, accounting for about four million deaths annually, three-quarters of which take place in the first week of life. Around 31% are due to infection.

This course will orient the participant to key issues in the prevention and treatment of neonatal infections, emphasizing recognition and management of bacterial infections at peripheral facilities and in the community, and issues of global public health importance.


By the end of this course the participant will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of newborn infection as a cause of neonatal mortality
  • List the risk factors for newborn infection and discuss how neonates acquire infection
  • Describe the differences between a newborn and an older infant with respect to infections, and some of the difficulties in recognizing infection in the newborn
  • Identify the key signs of sepsis in the newborn
  • List the major strategies for preventing newborn infection
  • List some strategies and approaches for the treatment of bacterial infections in the newborn, at peripheral centers and in the community
  • Explain possible programmatic approaches at the facility and community levels
  • Describe key program examples for preventing and treating newborn sepsis


The course authors would like to thank Don Thea, BUSPH, Department of Global Health for reviewing the course and sharing his insightful feedback. 

Thanks go to those who developed and reviewed the first edition of this course in August 2009.

Course Authors:

  • Indira Narayanan, BASICS Project
  • Goldy Mazia, BASICS Project 
  • James Wolff, BASICS Project

Technical Reviewers:

  • Jim Shelton, USAID
  • Lily Kak, USAID
  • Paul Crystal, BASICS Project
  • Barbara Deller, ACCESS Project


  • 2 hours


  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Course Authors: 

  • Rachael Bonawitz, BUSPH, Center for Global Health and Development

  • James Wolff, BUSPH, Department of Global Health

Course Managers: 

  • Nandini Jayarajan, CCP
  • Lisa Mwaikambo, CCP

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