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
WHO Statement on Maternal Sepsis

The WHO has released a statement on maternal sepsis. Download the statement as PDF
Here is the unedited statement in its entirety:

Sepsis: a leading cause of maternal deaths
Strategic approaches to reduce maternal mortality in the past 15 years have mainly focused on clinical interventions and health system strengthening (1). The greatest attention has been on postpartum haemorrhage and hypertensive disorders, the two leading direct causes of maternal mortality (2). Further reducing maternal deaths is a priority for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (3), implementing the UN Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and critical for the Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) (1).

However, the third most common direct cause of maternal mortality, maternal sepsis (2), received less attention, research and programming. Undetected or poorly managed maternal infections can lead to sepsis, death or disability for the mother and increased likelihood of early neonatal infection and other adverse outcomes.
Recognizing the need to foster new thinking and to catalyse greater action to address this important cause of maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Jhpiego have launched the Global Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis Initiative, dedicated to focusing additional effort, energizing stakeholders and accelerating progress in the area of maternal and neonatal infection and sepsis (Box 1). The Initiative has received extensive support from the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)International Confederation of Midwives (ICM)International Pediatric Association (IPA), Global Sepsis Alliance and the Surviving Sepsis Campaign in collaboration with the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM).

Defining maternal sepsis
In July 2015, Jhpiego hosted the “Enhancing the Focus on Maternal Sepsis” meeting, which developed Key Themes and a Framework for Action as a first step in recognizing and addressing the importance of maternal infection. An important outcome of this meeting was the recognition of the need for a clear, evidence-based and actionable definition for maternal sepsis. Existing definitions related to maternal sepsis may be confusing (e.g. maternal infection, puerperal sepsis, postpartum sepsis) and imprecise, potentially leading to misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment or delays in care.
A literature review on maternal sepsis definitions and identification criteria was then conducted (4). The review included all review articles related to maternal sepsis or articles reporting on the development and testing of identification criteria for maternal sepsis, as well as current guidelines, published between 2010 and 2016, with no language or geographical restrictions. Information was extracted from 27 articles, out of 245 citations identified in the systematic review, and 9 guidelines and 3 additional WHO documents. This review found several terms, definitions and sets
of criteria being used to describe maternal sepsis. A substantial proportion of studies (11/27) and guidelines (7/9) included definitions that consisted of variations and attempts at adaptation of the First and Second International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock, which were developed for the general adult population but excluded pregnant women.
In April 2016, WHO convened an expert consultation to discuss, develop and propose a new global definition for maternal sepsis. A multidisciplinary
international panel of 48 experts was surveyed through an online and in-person consultation in March–April 2016 for their opinion on the
new definition of sepsis proposed for the adult population and the importance of different criteria for identification of maternal sepsis. Members of the panel had expertise in obstetrics, midwifery, adult and obstetric critical care, infectious disease, epidemiology and public health from across all regions of the world. During the in-person meeting the definition of maternal sepsis, attributes of its identification criteria and considerations for implementation were discussed. Informed by the literature review and a structured expert consultation, the new definition of maternal sepsis reflects the thinking embedded in the 2016 Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (SEPSIS-3) (5). Previously defined as an infection with a Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS), the SEPSIS-3 consensus shifts the focus of the definition of sepsis from
inflammatory response to life-threatening organ dysfunction.
Based on this work, the new maternal sepsis definition reads as follows: maternal sepsis is a life-threatening condition defined as organ dysfunction resulting from infection during pregnancy, childbirth, post-abortion, or postpartum period. Specific identification criteria for maternal sepsis will be developed (Box 2).
During the consultation, experts agreed on thefollowing attributes:

  • Identification criteria for maternal sepsis cases should be based on the presence of suspected or confirmed infection plus signs of mild to moderate organ dysfunction (e.g. tachycardia, low blood pressure, tachypnoea, altered mental status, reduced urinary output).
  • Two sets of identification criteria will be required to fulfil two different purposes:
    • early identification of women with possible severe maternal infections to enable prompt therapeutic action; and
    • confirmation of maternal sepsis for epidemiological and disease classification purposes (confirmed maternal sepsis).
  • These criteria should be simple to obtain, preferably based on bedside clinical signs, actionable and applicable to high- and low-resource settings.
  • Confirmed maternal sepsis cases need to be compatible with the current International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and contribute to the ongoing revision of the Classification to allow comparability of data.

Box 1: The Global Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis Initiative

The Global Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis Initiative will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by
developing solutions able to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths related to sepsis.


  • Accelerate the reduction of preventable maternal and neonatal deaths related to sepsis.


  • Raise awareness about maternal and neonatal sepsis among health care providers, policy-makers and the public
  • Assess the burden and management of maternal and neonatal sepsis at the global scale
  • Develop and test effective strategies to prevent, detect and successfully manage maternal and neonatal sepsis.

Priority areas of work

  • Strengthening Health Programmes
  • Research, Development and Evidence Generation
  • Innovations
  • Global Advocacy

Box 2: The New WHO Definition of Maternal Sepsis
Maternal sepsis is a life-threatening condition defined as organ dysfunction resulting from infection during pregnancy, childbirth, post-abortion, or postpartum period.

Operationalizing the new maternal sepsis definition
The operationalization of the new maternal sepsis definition guides providers to focus on actionable elements such as the administration of antibiotics
and fluids, and support of vital organ functions. It also recognizes the need to act promptly, prior to laboratory confirmation. Therefore, two sets
of identification criteria for maternal sepsis will be developed and tested: one pertaining to early identification of women with possible severe maternal infections (presumed maternal sepsis), and another focused on confirming the diagnosis of maternal sepsis.
Adoption and implementation of the new definition will strengthen clinical management at the facility level and focus health system improvement
efforts (Fig. 1). Operationalizing the new maternal sepsis definition is a step toward more progress in addressing maternal sepsis. Continued success,
however, will require a coordinated, cohesive and strategic approach with dedicated resources on the part of international organizations and agencies,
ministries of health, programme managers, researchers and donors. The Global Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis Initiative will further the
development of identification criteria, prevention strategies and management bundles and promote a global mobilization with the aim of accelerating
the reduction of preventable sepsis deaths during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period by 2030. Key advances, however, are still needed in the area of innovation, research, programme implementation and advocacy, both at the global and national levels, in order to be effective and reach more women and babies.

Figure 1.JPG


  1. Chou D, Daelmans B, Jolivet RR, Kinney M, Say L; Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) and Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) working groups. Ending preventable maternal and newborn mortality and stillbirths. BMJ. 2015 Sep 14;351:h4255. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h4255. Review. PubMed PMID: 26371222.
  2. Say L, Chou D, Gemmill A, Tunçalp Ö, Moller AB, Daniels J et al. Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2014 Jun;2(6):e323-33. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(14)70227-X. Epub 2014 May 5. Review. PubMed PMID: 25103301.
  3. United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. United Nations, New York, 2015. (Available at:, accessed 16 December 2016).
  4. Bonet M, Pileggi VN, Rijken MJ, Coomarasamy A, Lissauer D, Souza JP, et al. Towards a Consensus Definition of Maternal Sepsis: Results of a Systematic Review and Expert Consultation. (unpublished)
  5. Singer M, Deutschman CS, Seymour CW, Shankar-Hari M, Annane D, Bauer M et al. The Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3). JAMA. 2016 Feb 23;315(8):801-10

We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of participants to the technical consultation (in alphabetical order): Edgardo Abalos (Centro Rosarino de Estudios Perinatales, Argentina), Aniekan Abasiattai (University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Nigeria), Linda Bartlett (Johns Hopkins University, USA), Fernando Bellissimo Rodrigues (University of São Paulo, Brazil), Arri Coomarasamy (University of Birmingham, UK), Maria Fernanda Escobar Vidarte (Fundación Valle del Lili, Colombia), Carlos Füchtner (FIGO, President Elect), Asmae Khattabi (National School of Public Health, Morocco), David Lissauer (University of Birmingham, UK), Zahida Qureshi (University of Nairobi, Kenya), Sadia Shakoor (The Aga Khan University, Pakistan), Claudio G. Sosa (Latin American Center for Perinatology, Women and Reproductive Health (CLAP), Uruguay) and Jos van Roosmalen (VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Special thanks are due to all respondents to our online survey. The Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis Initiative Secretariat: Rajiv Bahl, Mercedes Bonet, A Metin Gülmezoglu , Cynthia Pileggi Castro, João Paulo Souza (World Health Organization, Switzerland); Elizabeth Kizzier, Jeffrey Smith (Jhpiego, USA).

This statement has been endorsed by:

If your organization would like to endorse this statement, please contact:

For more information, please contact:
Department of Reproductive Health and Research
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

© World Health Organization 2017. Some rights reserved. This work is available under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO licence. WHO/RHR/17.02
All reasonable precautions have been taken by WHO to verify the information contained in this publication. However, the published material is being
distributed without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of the material lies with the reader. In no event shall WHO be liable for damages arising from its use.
This publication contains the collective views of an international group of experts and does not necessarily represent the decisions or the policies of WHO.

Marvin Zick
Happy New Year & Updated Toolkits!

We hope you had a great start into 2018 - we certainly wish every supporter of the Global Sepsis Alliance and World Sepsis Day a Happy New Year!

To start the year on the right foot, we have updated all our toolkits for 2018, meaning updated logos, documents, event material for WSD 2018, and updated pinc picnic material. 

Additionally, we are currently overhauling the infographics and pocketcards and will have them ready by Spring 2018.

Marvin Zick
A Look Back on 2017 and Season's Greetings from the Team at the Global Sepsis Alliance
© Wolfgang Hanke, Lindgrün GmbH

© Wolfgang Hanke, Lindgrün GmbH

Thank you so much for supporting the Global Sepsis Alliance, World Sepsis Day, and the fight against sepsis throughout 2017.

2017 was a very exciting year for sepsis awareness; the WHA adopted a groundbreaking resolution on sepsis, which will save countless of lives all over the globe, we joined forces with the WHO to bring you the free online congress 'WSC Spotlight: Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis' on September 12th, we celebrated a widely covered World Sepsis Day with numerous events on all continents, created a video making sepsis comprehendable in 3-minutes (not an easy task) and launched completely redesigned websites for the Global Sepsis Alliance and World Sepsis Day, making it easier for you to find what you are looking for.
We also redesigned the logo of the GSA, grew significantly in members, and (a little) in sponsors. Throughout the year, we again awarded major achievements in the fight against sepsis with the Global Sepsis Awards, supported by the Erin Kay Flatley Memorial Foundation.
Connecting with you, our supporters, is incredibly important to us, and that is why we held a total of four supporter meetings on three continents for you this year; at ISICEM in Brussels in March, at ECCC in Dubai in April, at ESICM in Vienna in September, and at the 13th World Congress in Rio in November. We are also looking forward to engage with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and regular old email.

We would like to thank all our supporters, colleagues, friends, volunteers, members, and partners for a very successful 2017. We wish everybody happy holidays and a good start into 2018, as well as health, happiness, and prosperity. 
We already have some very exciting things planned for 2018, so stay tuned...

We appreciate if you support the GSA and the World Sepsis Day Movement by donating to our cause.

Helen Reinke
Radiometer Increases Support in the Fight Against Sepsis

Continuing its commitment to the fight against sepsis, the Denmark-based healthcare company Radiometer has donated 10,000 USD, partly raised by its employees, to the Global Sepsis Alliance, initiator of World Sepsis Day and World Sepsis Congress.
The donation is part of Radiometers’ continued commitment to improve global healthcare and to help save lives – the essence of their mission and vision.

“At Radiometer, we understand the seriousness of sepsis, the importance of early intervention and the necessity of understanding the dangers and signs of the disease. Through our solutions and by raising awareness of sepsis, we want to help ensure that more people survive this potentially fatal condition and to empower caregivers to make fast and reliable decisions.” said Henrik Schimmell, President of Radiometer.

“The Global Sepsis Alliance thanks Radiometer and every single person that contributed to this donation. We hope the way this money was raised, collectively by the company and its employees, inspires other companies to join the global fight against sepsis as well. Every cent raised will be put towards implementing the demands of the WHO Resolution on Sepsis and raising awareness for sepsis worldwide,” said Marvin Zick, General Manager of the Global Sepsis Alliance.

To learn more about Radiometer, please visit their website.

Marvin Zick
WHO Resolution on Sepsis Now Available in Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic

The WHO Resolution on Sepsis, which was adopted by the World Health Assembly and the World Health Organization in May 2017, is now available in Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.

Full resolution in English (PDF)
Full resolution in Spanish (PDF)
Full resolution in French (PDF)
Full resolution in Russian (PDF)
Full resolution in Chinese (PDF)
Full resolution in Arabic (PDF)

The resolution marks a quantum leap in the fight against sepsis and urges the 194 United Nation Member States to implement appropriate measures to reduce the human and health economic burden of sepsis. The resolution, to improve, prevent, diagnose, and manage sepsis, was spearheaded by the Global Sepsis Alliance, proposed by the German Ministry of Health, and supported by Australia, Austria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Estonia, Ireland, Jamaica, Luxemburg, the Russian Federation, and Switzerland. To learn more about the resolution, please click here.

To support the implementation of the resolution, please donate here.

Marvin Zick
2017 WSD Event Poster Now Available to Download/Print

Today, we are thrilled to announce that the 2017 WSD Event Poster is finished, featuring hundreds of events on all continents.

Download the 2017 WSD Event Poster now (4.6 MB)
Download the 2017 WSD Event Poster (print version, 31 MB)

If you want to order a printed version of the poster, please consider the environment and the shipping costs first. To go ahead and order a printed poster, please click here. Please understand that printed posters are limited to three posters per institution/organization. You can of course print an unlimited number yourself by downloading the print version above.

The events for World Sepsis Day 2017 were more creative and engaging than ever. There were events for medical professionals, sport activities, photo exhibitions, pink picnics, gala events, dinners, and countless public events in hospitals and healthcare facilities on all continents.

A huge thanks to our dedicated supporters all over the world! We are already looking forward to see what they come up with in 2018 - and we hope you join in as well.

If you enjoy the free WSD Event poster, please consider making a donation.

Marvin Zick