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Health ministry crafting infection prevention and control strategy

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Ministry of Health and Wellness is working to develop a National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) strategy as part of a comprehensive approach to strengthening healthcare safety and quality and improving health outcomes.

Key personnel from the ministry, the regional health authorities and members of hospital IPC teams, are participating in a two-day National Strategic Workshop for Infection Prevention and Control, at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The aim of the workshop, which started yesterday, is to garner stakeholder input for a draft strategy.

Speaking at the workshop's opening ceremony, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, said data from a 2015 audit conducted at a number of facilities within the south-east health region found a number of gaps.

These include a lack of general knowledge among the various categories of staff regarding the principles of IPC; lack of compliance with good hand hygiene practices and knowledge about proper use of personal protective equipment; improper cleaning techniques and storage of chemicals; and improper management of waste. Monitoring and evaluation supply chain issues, as well as the need for infrastructure repair and upgrade, were also listed among the challenges to the sector.

“These deficiencies are fuel for infections acquired in healthcare settings, which are the most frequent adverse events in healthcare delivery worldwide,” Tufton noted.

He said that the ministry, with support from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), has been taking action to remedy the situation.

This includes training of IPC nurses in all government hospitals using the PAHO/WHO methodology, to enhance their knowledge in the prevention, surveillance and control of hospital acquired infections; training neonatal intensive care unit teams in the prevention of neonatal sepsis; training of selected specialists in the prevention, surveillance and control of hospital acquired infections; and review and adaptation of IPC documents and guidelines.

Tufton said the ministry is on a path to safeguarding access to equitable, comprehensive and quality healthcare for Jamaicans and to bolster its stewardship capacity in order to achieve universal access to health and health coverage.

“If we are to succeed, then IPC has to be prioritised and it is up to us to make that a reality. The workshop is helping to give shape to that as we work together to ensure a safe environment and healthcare practices that give our patients the best chance at optimal health outcomes,” he said.


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