Infection prevention and control standards strengthened in Vanuatu

Health workers in Vanuatu have taken part in Infection Prevention Control (IPC) training measures on new the surgical site infection (SSI) surveillance program, the prevention of antimicrobial resistance and the strengthening of infection surveillance.

Health experts from the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Public Health Division facilitated country workshops with funding support from the European Union and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The training, which took part from the 21st-26th of April was a follow up to general IPC and hand hygiene auditor training that was conducted in 2021 and March this year.

SPC’s Infection Prevention Control Adviser Margaret Leong, supported the IPC team with analysis of the hand hygiene baseline audit reports and the development of an improvement plan in collaboration with IPC focal points for Vanuatu. Ms. Leong praised the effort and dedication of Vanuatu saying, “Strong leadership support has been demonstrated and this is essential for implementation of IPC programs at the national and healthcare facility levels.”

Vanuatu’s ongoing focus on IPC measures has already made a positive impact on the island nations healthcare, with the formalization of IPC fulltime positions in hospitals, the development of the national 5-year IPC workplan and the creation of national IPC guidelines and policies.

The Surgical Site Infection programme meanwhile, is set to complement and further strengthen monitoring and surveillance mechanisms already in place. Medical Superintendent for the Vila Central Hospital, Dr Vincent Atua said, “SSI is an excellent key performance indicator for the hospital’s infection, prevention, and control as well as surveillance. We look forward to reports and monitoring the SSIs at our hospital with the continuous technical advice and support from SPC.”

Regional and national IPC guidelines have been made available across the region and are increasingly being implemented by healthcare systems in the Pacific. IPC. These new SSI surveillance and hand hygiene trainings will complement current efforts to further standardise practises.

Vila Central Hospital is now implementing the improvement plan based on the training conducted.  Another hand hygiene audit will take place in November as Vanuatu continues to focus on excellence in all aspects of its healthcare system.

Public Health