U.S. and Zimbabwe partner to improve infection control practices

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW) is partnering with CDC/Zimbabwe through its cooperative agreement partner Biomedical Research & Training Institute (BRTI) to strengthen Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in Health Facilities in Zimbabwe. BRTI is conducting the second in a series of Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops for 25 of health workers in Harare June 25-29, 2012, at the Cresta Lodge Harare.

The Zimbabwe Infection Prevention and Control Project (ZIPCOP) project will improve infection control practices in health care facilities nationwide to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, including TB, among patients and staff. ZIPCOP is supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); it has an anticipated $4 million of funding over five years and will be implemented by the Ministry in collaboration with BRTI, Management Science for Health (MSH) and the Infection Control Association of Zimbabwe (ICAZ).

“CDC/Zimbabwe is very pleased to support infection prevention and control in Zimbabwe. Training of health care workers is a critical component of protecting both health care workers and patients from the scourge of hospital-acquired infections.” said Dr Peter Kilmarx, CDC/Zimbabwe Country Director.

Training is one of the key components of a comprehensive and effective in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) programme. Basic training in IPC aims to educate and inform health care workers at all levels of service provision about current infection prevention and control practices.

“BRTI, on behalf of the consortium, is indebted to CDC for the financial and technical support to strengthen IPC through training within the MOHCW institutions. This training will cascade to all levels of health care in Zimbabwe,” said Professor Exnevia Gomo, ZIPCOP Principal Investigator at BRTI.

The basic TOT program provides participants with skills to advocate and mobilize support for IPC, and skills to train others. This course applies a multidisciplinary approach to IPC – it aims to encourage all health staff to be involved in infection prevention and control activities in their day to day work. The course equips healthcare workers with a basic understanding and appreciation of infection prevention and control in resource-limited settings.

Twenty-two health workers from 5 provincial hospitals, 5 Central Hospitals and 2 City Health departments participated in Part 1 of the course in April 2012. Six were nurse tutors, 13 IPC officers and 3 ZIPCOP staff. All 22 participants successfully completed the examination at the end of the one week training. Nineteen of the original participants will now enter Part 2 of the TOT training starting on the June 25.

ZIPCOP intends to create a well-informed health sector that is aware of the role and extent of infections as a cause of morbidity and mortality in-country; to strengthen the Ministry of Health’s capacity to take lead in infection control policy formulation, strategic planning and implementation of programs, and enforcement of regulations to control infections in all settings; to equip health workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent and control infections at all levels of the health delivery system; to strengthen a well-run local network of ICAZ branches able to inform national policy; to educate communities about infection prevention related issues; and to mobilize local and international financial resource for infection control in Zimbabwe.

The United States Government, through PEPFAR and CDC, will support ZIPCOP over five years through cooperative agreements. Currently, the programme is in the first year of a five-year cooperative agreement with CDC valued at $800,000 per year. Through ZIPCOP and other major partnerships with the government and health community in Zimbabwe, the United States continues to work with Zimbabwe in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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