The Lagos State government has been tasked to accept and integrate into clinical practice, a curriculum for the training of medical professionals in Infection Prevention and Control, IPC.PRESENTATION: From left – Provost , College of Medicine UNILAG, Prof. Afolabi Lesi; Deputy VC Developmental Services UNILAG (Principal Investigator IPC Curriculum Development Project; CMD LUTH Prof. Chris Bode; Commissioner for Health Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris and representative of the Dean Faculty of Dentistry, UNILAG, during the presentation of the IPC survey report in Lagos recently.
Making the call recently at the public dissemination of the survey findings of a survey on infection prevention and control in Lagos State, stakeholders advocating for the advancement of IPC practice in Nigeria, urged acceptance of the curriculum by all stakeholders to ensure proper integration infection prevention and control into clinical care as is best practice all over the world.
Presenting the results of the survey, the Principal Investigator IPC Curriculum Development Project, DVC Developmental Services UNILAG, Prof Folsade Ogunsola, described infection control and prevention as a quality and safety standard and an integral part of health delivery.
Ogunsola, who is a professor of Clinical Microbiology at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, CMUL, and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Developmental Services UNILAG, noted that Nigeria has no professionals in infection control and infection.
“Why we talk about infection control and prevention is that any time you go for a procedure, you can have an infection. Part of infection control and prevention is to train health workers to protect themselves, so we have a lot of people trained, but we don’t have people trained to recognise risk and ensure that there is no danger.
“There is no curriculum right now in West Africa for that cadre of staff. So we have a lot of people who have been taught to protect themselves but we don’t have anybody pushing that discipline.
According to Ogunsola: “We did a survey around Lagos with the permission of the Ministry of Health and we looked at tertiary, secondary and primary hospitals and private hospitals at different levels of care. We looked at what guidelines and processes they have, their knowledge and manner of practicing it as well as the infrastructure of infection control and prevention.
In her view, part of the of the intent was to get a baseline of what is going on, noting that the curriculum would be finally ready February next year and we will do a pilot training of people.
“We want to present this and solicit the Lagos State government to be the first to ensure there is a career path for this sub-speciality of infection control and prevention for nurses.”
According to her, at least one infection control and prevention nurse is required for 250 patients, while for a lot of activity one nurse per 100 patients is the requirement.
“So a place like LUTH might require seven infection control and prevention nurses because that is what they do 24/7 and they would also have infection control and prevention doctors.”
The Programme Manager of the Project Dr. Tochi Okwor, explained that the IPC training curriculum will create a common framework for training and certification of healthcare professionals specifically in IPC and for the establishment of proper IPC programmes in health facilities across the nation.
“The training curriculum is also designed to address gaps identified in a baseline assessment of IPC in health facilities and uses examples relevant to our needs.
The purpose of the training programme is to ensure that trainees are fully prepared to lead infection prevention and control services and are developing, implementing, supervising and auditing a comprehensive infection, prevention and control programme in different healthcare facilities.”
According to the Provost College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof Afolabi Lesi, infection prevention and control has to be a career structure.
“There must be a clear path to show that the training is to benefit people. We are keying into it at LUTH because it is a mandate of the institution. I believe in infection control. Hospital acquired infections are more dangerous because they tend to be more aggressive and more resistant to antibiotics so any training that can help us manage and control infections better is always useful and necessary in an environment such as ours.”
Speaking at the event, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said the development of a curriculum on infection control and prevention as an essential and good development.
“I’m waiting for the guidelines. It is very necessary for us to adopt this curriculum and the earlier we start it the better because we will continue to have these disease epidemics.
“I am drawing attention of all health workers to addressing this so that we can reduce occurrence of hospital acquired infections.”