As the Pacific continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and medical communities are increasingly looking to trusted guidelines to help them navigate through the crisis. Ensuring that these guidelines reflect the latest experiences and knowledge is critical for maintaining trust. In that light, the Pacific Community (SPC) has released the updated Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) Regional Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important it is for not only healthcare workers, but everyone in the community to practice infection prevention and control measures, such as hand sanitation, to prevent, reduce and/or stop the spread of germs.
Mrs Margaret Leong, SPC’s IPC Adviser said that ‘the updated guidelines benefit from most recent international and national findings and provide evidence-based IPC standards for Pacific Island countries and territories to develop or revise their own national guidelines. They are also an essential tool for countries in ensure that their guidelines are suitable for all healthcare workers on the ground.’
Mrs Bertha Tarileo, Technical Support National IPC Program Development in Vanuatu said the 2021 regional IPC guidelines were used to update the Vanuatu national IPC guidelines which were shared with health, medical and nursing specialists from across the six provinces of Vanuatu. The consultation process to update these national guidelines was made possible through advisory and funding support from SPC and UNICEF. The Vanuatu national IPC guidelines have now been finalized and approved by the National IPC Committee.
The Solomon Islands national IPC guidelines was also updated and aligned to the regional IPC guidelines. “The development and support for this guideline to eventuate is a milestone, said Mrs Betty Ramolelea, IPC repositioned Nurse Unit Manager in Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital. “It’s been our dream to have our National IPC guidelines updated. It will reduce risks for patients and staff and put everyone in a better way to reduce healthcare-associated infections. It will also uniform implementation of IPC required activities in Solomon Islands.”
Fiji is currently in the process of finalizing its national guidelines using 2021 PPHSN regional IPC guidelines.
The updating and production of the 2021 IPC guidelines, was made possible through the collaboration between SPC and WHO, and with financial support from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the European Union (EU).
The English version of the guidelines is accessible on SPC website. A French version will be available in the coming months.
The Pacific Community has been supporting sustainable development in the Pacific, through science, knowledge and innovation since 1947. It is the principal intergovernmental organization in the region, owned and governed by its 26 member countries and territories.