As the Pacific Community Infection Prevention and Control Advisor (IPC), my work is focused on strengthening IPC capacity in the regional Pacific islands and territories to respond to COVID-19. My contribution continues to be under the WHO-Pacific Joint Incident Management Team (JIMT) for COVID-19 as the IPC cell lead to support IPC activities in the Pacific. My work with this cell has also involved creating standard operating procedures for isolation rooms and IPC posters for isolation facilities. These posters serve as essential reminder’s to staff on the requirements of precautionary IPC measures before entry into an isolation facility.
In response to training needs identified by the Pacific islands and territories, we have provided webinars targeting nurses and environmental health officers on the following topics:
I have also been able to contribute as a panelist in the WHO Western Pacific Infection Prevention and Control Network regional IPC webinars and presented the pacific context on Strengthening IPC programs during and beyond COVID-19, reprocessing of reusable medical devices in the context of COVID-19 and the rational use of PPE’s.
Even though restriction of international travel and border closures continues to be a major challenge, it has highlighted the opportunities and gaps that exist in IPC throughout the pacific islands and territories to respond to COVID-19.
To continue our support for IPC in the region, we have utilized online communication platforms like zoom to communicate with focal points and to deliver IPC webinars. Additionally, we are utilizing other online tools like monkey survey to receive feedback from attendees to these webinars.
I visited one country in the pacific just before the lock-down and at this time, the main hospital did not have a fulltime IPC officer to lead the IPC program on the ground and address some major areas that required resources for IPC COVID-19 preparedness. The country implemented all recommendations with support from multi-agencies including the engagement of a fulltime IPC officer to implement and monitor IPC activities. All the guidance materials were utilized however, the power-point slides on COVID-19: Guidance on Environmental Cleaning for Healthcare Facilities was used by the IPC officer to train cleaners throughout the country.