We’ve got some great news: the first batch of trainees from the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Curriculum Development Project are officially certified!
The pilot training course was held from 23rd February to 10th March in Lagos and the 25 trainees included people from various cadres within Nigeria’s health sector including doctors, nurses, and laboratory staff.
What was the course all about?
Preventing and controlling the spread of infections in health facilities to reduce healthcare associated infections and outbreaks. This is a crucial part of patient safety.
Why is this important?
Let’s look at it from the perspective of a patient.
Imagine that you go into the hospital for a simple procedure. You know you will be in the hospital for 3 days at most and you know how much the procedure will cost you. But then, as a result of poor IPC practices, you get infected with a virus or bacteria either from the hospital environment, a healthworker, another patient, or a visitor/relative. That infection leads to complications so you end up spending 3 weeks in the hospital and your bill is much higher than you anticipated.
For healthworkers, IPC is just as important because every day they are exposed to patients who may be infectious and work environments that may be contaminated. Without proper IPC in place, healthworkers can be infected before they even make a diagnosis.
What topics were covered?
The course was a comprehensive overview of all things to do with IPC. Topics included:
DRASA participated in the training as an Independent Observer and as the program progressed, we saw firsthand how trainees began to understand the science behind the risks of infection, were able to assess situations accurately, and make better decisions to ensure they are not only protecting themselves but also their patients and the wider community.
The diversity of learning methods used – from lectures to site visits to group activities and practical simulations – made the course interesting, engaging and memorable. There was a clear focus on the need for behavior change in our health sector and getting trainees to see IPC as a discipline and a way of life.
By the end of the training, trainees understood the importance and impact of breaking the chain of infection.
This was demonstrated during the last day of the course when the trainees went back to their respective facilities and reported how they observed IPC practices (or rather the lack of IPC practices). It was clear that the trainees were now looking at their workplaces through a new lens and from a new perspective because of the knowledge they gained on IPC practices and principles.
In facilities, healthworkers often use IPC to solve a problem that has arisen but this is wrong. IPC is supposed to be the standard of care so infections and outbreaks don’t happen in the first place.
But for this to be possible, we need well-trained IPC practitioners.
So we look forward to seeing the program grow and become the standard for IPC education, having more health professionals in Nigeria trained as IPC practitioners, and supporting the ongoing advocacy and rollout of this program to ensure it has impact in Nigeria and beyond. We must keep our hospitals safe!