September 14, 2021

World Sepsis Day: Stop sepsis, save lives

Yesterday was World Sepsis Day (WSD), an initiative by the Global Sepsis Alliance to spread community awareness about sepsis, and strategies in infection prevention and early recognition.

WSD is held on 13 September every year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against sepsis.

Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It may lead to shock, multi-organ failure and death, especially if not recognised early and treated promptly.

Sepsis is a global health crisis. It affects between 47 and 50 million people worldwide every year and at least 11 million die – with one death every 2.8 seconds. Twenty per cent of all deaths worldwide are associated with sepsis.

Depending on the country, mortality varies between 15 and more than 50 per cent. Many surviving patients suffer from the consequences of sepsis for the rest of their lives.

To improve outcomes, community awareness of signs and symptoms, together with time-critical recognition and appropriate healthcare management, is essential in reducing morbidity and mortality associated with this condition.

In 2013, Northern Health introduced the Step on Sepsis Program.

Cassie Gilbert, Step on Sepsis Project Coordinator, said the program was developed to aid in early recognition and appropriate management of sepsis at Northern Health.

“The goal is to decrease time to antibiotics and improve patient outcomes,” Cassie said.

“Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response. Sepsis, a silent killer, is considered a medical emergency. It is the leading treatable cause of mortality globally. The risk of dying from sepsis increases by as much as eight per cent for every hour treatment is delayed.”

“It is time critical to promptly recognise the warning signs of sepsis and respond appropriately to improve patient outcomes. As clinicians, we are essential in the early recognition of sepsis and advocating for our patients to ensure the early treatment of sepsis.”

The program has been successful in helping clinicians improve the recognition and treatment of patients with sepsis. This program focuses on examining time to treat with antibiotics, as well as improving nursing and medical staff education in identifying and managing patients with serious infections.

To find out more about sepsis management at Northern Health, click here.

If you would like to know more about sepsis and world sepsis day, head to and

Featured image: Cassie Gilbert, Step on Sepsis Project Coordinator