Benedetta Allegranzi obtained her medical degree in 1994 and her postgraduate degrees in infectious diseases and tropical medicine in 1998, at the University of Verona, Italy. She worked as a medical doctor in infectious diseases, tropical medicine and infection control at the Verona University Hospital, Italy, and in Burundi, from 1994 to 2006. In this period, she did clinical practice, research and teaching on HIV, TB, malaria, infections in critically ill patients, infection control and tropical medicine. She moved to the World Health Organization in Geneva in 2005 and she is currently the coordinator of the WHO Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Global Unit in the Service Delivery and Safety department. She is also adjoint professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva, working at the Global Health Institute and at the Infection Control at the University Hospitals of Geneva.
Prevention of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) worldwide is the target of the WHO IPC Global Unit which was established in October 2016 and lays its foundations on the “Clean Care is Safer Care” programme. Professor Allegranzi’s research activities, conducted in the field of IPC in the context of global health, have focused on implementing core components of effective IPC programmes, hand hygiene improvement, epidemiology of HAI worldwide, the prevention of surgical site infections (SSI), and IPC implementation in settings with limited resources. In particular, Professor Allegranzi was the technical lead for IPC during the WHO response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; through her work, she has highlighted the burden of HAIs in low-resource settings and has studied interventions to reduce it. Under Professor Allegranzi’s leadership, several new global IPC guidelines and their implementation strategies that have major relevance for all countries and health care facilities worldwide have been developed. Two global campaigns on injection safety and hand hygiene have been launched; the latter currently includes more than 19 000 in 177 countries and a network of 48 national campaigns. Combating antimicrobial resistance through IPC programmes and best practices is also within the IPC global unit mandate and priorities led by Professor Allegranzi. She is the author or coauthor of more than 150 scientific publications, including articles published in high-profile medical journal such as the Lancet, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Lancet Global Health, New England Journal of Medicine and the WHO Bulletin, and more than 20 book chapters, including the editing of the Hand Hygiene: A Handbook for Medical Professionals (Wiley-Blackwell 2017).