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May 17 2021

Infection prevention and control (IPC) measures implemented by healthcare facilities play an important role in controlling the transmission of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and healthcare associated infections including antimicrobial resistance.

A two-day IPC workshop was held earlier this month with health care workers at the Prince Ngu Hospital in Vava’u Tonga.

The workshop was organized by the Tongan Ministry of Health IPC team and virtually co-facilitated by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Public Health Division with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the European Union (EU).

This workshop focused on understanding links in the chain of infection and the IPC measures necessary to break the links and prevent further transmission of infections. Other topics covered included standard precautions, in particular the correct steps to put on and remove personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper hand hygiene.

Participants also learned how to implement transmission-based isolation precautions for patients who are known to have infectious agents that require additional control measures of contact, airborne or droplet routes or a combination of these measures.

Doctor Sonasi Huahulu said, “This training is really important because we always assume our hands are clean, so updating us in outer islands with IPC guidelines helps to support our work routinely when dealing with patients by breaking the chains of infection which is better than cure.”

One of the nurses Filimone Iloa also shared his feedback saying, “Here in Ngu hospital there is no isolation ward but with what I have learned is the various ways of isolating our cases in the ward despite there being no isolation ward in Vavau. In addition, I now know more about the modes of transmissions and precautions.”

Basic IPC measures such as hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, physical distancing and appropriate use of PPE can protect healthcare workers and patients from COVID-19 and other infections.

Margaret Leong, SPC’s IPC Adviser says that while health care workers around the globe are reinforcing and taking IPC measures seriously, everybody can practise the same measures to prevent the spread of infections particularly COVID-19.

SPC has IPC resources available for Pacific Island Countries and Territories to use. These resources can be accessed here and can be utilised by technical and non-technical audiences.