The World Health Organisation defines infection prevention and control (IPC) as a scientific approach and practical solution designed to prevent harm caused by infection to patients and health workers. The global health UN agency further notes that “no country, no health-care facility, even within the most advanced and sophisticated health-care systems, can claim to be free of the problem of health care-associated infections.”
Against this backdrop, Nigeria through the National COVID-19 response, has embarked on training on infection prevention and control for tertiary secondary and primary health care facilities. The exercise has been made possible with funding from the Africa Centre for Disease Control through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. AFENET has provided technical support in four states Lagos, Ogun, Katsina, and Kebbi where 240, 180, 60, and 60 health care workers were trained, respectively.
Prof. Adebola Olayinka, a Research and IPC Officer with WHO Nigeria who was the lead facilitator in Katsina State stated that the primary objective of the training was to build the capacity of the participants to serve as trainers and IPC leads within their respective Health care facilities.
“We believe that if we do this, health care workers will not get infected and die and they will also be able to provide optimum care to all those who need it by implementing IPC practices when performing their functions,” she noted adding that the training did not only cover the basics of infection control but also discussed how IPC programs could be set up within health care facilities, among other contents.
Reflecting on the training, the Acting State Disease Surveillance Officer with the Katsina Primary Health Care Agency Mukutatu Kuluma said the training was very educative covering many subjects health workers tend to easily neglect.
“One beautiful thing about the program is the fact that practical demonstrations were done especially on infection prevention control as well as donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is very critical,” he noted. “In fact, it is from these minor things that we tend to neglect, that we expose ourselves to infection. The training has captured that and most of us the participants have listened to that aspect of the training.”
Doing things differently
The training, Kuluma noted, made him realise many avoidable lapses in infection control which many health workers do not pay attention to. “For example, I assure you that most of us in the facilities are very negligent about hand washing. We tend to touch surfaces that are potentially hazardous but then we do not take care to see that we wash our hands and from there we can get these infections. So, one of the key areas we would consider is behavior and attitude change of health workers towards infection Prevention and Control.”
Similarly, Dr Danmusa Idris Mamman from Orthopedic Hospital isolation Center, Katsina said his team was going to form an IPC committee, and “after forming the committee, we will make sure we have regular meetings and strategize on how to do step down trainings for our lower cadre staff.”