Today we attended a roundtable for the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Curriculum Development Project.
University of Lagos College of Medicine, Exxon Mobile, US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CDC Foundation, and Project HOPE have come together to develop a standardized curriculum for infection prevention in Nigeria.
So what’s the IPC curriculum all about?
The idea is to produce a new cadre of healthworkers in Nigeria: infection preventionists.
These people will be experts in practical methods of preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases among patients, staff, and visitors in a health facility.
They will go through a formal professional development program and become certified in IPC.
Why focus on IPC?
Healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) – infections that patients get while receiving medical care – are common in Nigeria and other developing nations. Think of it this way: you go to the hospital for a simple procedure that should take a few hours, but you end up getting infected with a bacteria or virus that you didn’t have before so you spend 2 weeks in the hospital. You got the infection from the hospital.
HAIs often extend the time a patient spends in the hospital and can kill, but the good news is that they are preventable. With proper IPC practices in a health facility, patients and healthworkers can remain safe because the spread of infections is largely reduced.
Lack of IPC can worsen an existing outbreak and increase the rate of transmission. For example, during Ebola, people in Liberia chose to stay at home because they felt the health facilities were spreading the infection, rather than treating and healing people. That fueled the spread of Ebola within the communities because people were staying at home.
Does Nigeria need an IPC curriculum?
Yes! Infection prevention and control is missing in our health sector. People aren’t properly trained or equipped to protect themselves or protect their patients. There are large deficiencies in our understanding and practice of IPC.
Also, one of the challenges identified during the National Conference of Infection Control was the lack of a coordinated, standardized, world-class curriculum for IPC.
So in conclusion…
We congratulate all the development partners on producing what is sure to be a game changer in preventing the spread of diseases within the health sector. DRASA looks forward to supporting the implementation of this curriculum for practicing healthworkers and those pursuing professional health degrees.