18 Health Workers to Graduate as Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Experts

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By Theresa Kef Sesay

Eighteen (18) health care workers from various districts across the country were recently trained as IPC experts through the national Advanced IPC certificate course which is geared towards enhancing IPC capacity in Human Resources for Health.

The first Cohort (Cohort 1) of the six months Advanced Certificate Course was funded and supported by the U.S Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), implemented collaboratively by ICAP at Columbia University and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

On Friday 21st February 2020 these 18 newly equipped staff graduated at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown. During the ceremony, the Country Representative of ICAP Columbia University, Dr. Mame Awa Toure, pointed out in recent times that no country, no healthcare facility, even within the most advanced and sophisticated healthcare systems can claim to be free of healthcare-associated infections. Therefore, she encouraged members in the health sector to strive towards achieving 100% IPC compliance in the health system.

With the current threat of the coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak around the world, she described the event as timely as World Health Organization has recommended that countries put in place an IPC program with a dedicated and trained team or at least an IPC focal point at each facility. Currently, she said: “We have a robust IPC system in Sierra Leone, and today’s graduation is a testimony to it.” IPC practices remain essential in maintaining a safe environment for everyone-especially health worker’s workers.

As the U.S Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Benjamin B. Dille maintained the United States Government remains committed to supporting Sierra Leone to strengthen its health sector as they have made tremendous contributions to the sector.

“Now, we are confident that these graduates have inquired the capacity to make the difference in their society, and they need to put in practice the knowledge and skills gained to improve the health of patients and the behaviour of health workers in administering care,” he stated.

He concluded by saying, “the U.S Government will stand behind you to support you, but you will have to lead the way for a better health system in the country.”

The CDC Sierra Leone Country Director, Dr. Tushar Singh, said what he saw was a reflection of partnership at its highest level across different sections. He applauded the graduates for their commitment and admonished them not to be selfish in providing healthcare at their various facilities. He reiterated that the IPC certificate course focuses on boosting the experience and building the expertise of Sierra Leoneans that will become IPC champions in their various facilities.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Deputy Chief Medical Officer Rev. Dr. T. T. Samba, in his keynote address said, “IPC plays a crucial role in meeting the national health priorities of the country. The new evolving landscape of emerging infectious diseases has served as a strong justification for developing IPC experts as they are key in ensuring health security in the country. As the course focuses on addressing some of the most common challenges in the system, we hope to celebrate and applaud these graduates even more as they work to make Sierra Leone a better place for healthcare delivery”.

The event ended with a group presentation from the 18 newly graduated IPC experts, which showcased the knowledge gained from the training.

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