Health workers in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region have undergone refresher training on infection prevention and control measures.
The training was aimed at enhancing the safety of health personnel and health service users.
The capacity building training, dubbed: “Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)”, was to equip the health workers across the district to adhere to the principles of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and control measures in delivering health services, to help reduce risk of infections at all health facilities.
WaterAid Ghana, a WASH focused organisation with funding from the Hemsley Charitable Trust, a United States non-profit organisation, facilitated the training as part of Strengthening Systems for Sustainable WASH Services (3SWASH) project.
The project aimed at strengthening systems to help address sector-wide range challenges to attain sustainable delivery and access to WASH services at all healthcare infrastructure levels to prevent infections and ensure quality of health services.
Ms Mawuko Freeman, Head of People and Organisational Development, WaterAid Ghana, explained that quality of health of the human resource of the country was imperative for sustainable development and hygiene played a critical role.
To achieve this, she said health workers needed to have access to WASH infrastructure and adhere to the basic principles of infection prevention and control at all levels.
He said the training was meant to build the capacity of the health workers to ensure high level hygienic practices in the healthcare facilities, to prevent health personnel and clients from contracting infections by WASH facilities.
She noted that WaterAid Ghana was committed to complementing the efforts of government to end WASH crisis at all levels and help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Ms Freeman noted that access to WASH and quality healthcare was a basic human right and called on the government to increase investment to help end challenges in the sector, especially in the rural communities.
“The biggest goal is to put WASH issues in the agenda of government and ensure that there is an increase allocation to the WASH sector to collectively meet the SDGs because at this time the percentages in allocation to WASH is not as high as we would expect to see it,” she added.
Ms Perpetual Diabene, the Head of 3SWASH project, explained that the Ghana Health Service had guidelines on infection prevention and control, mandating all health workers especially at the facility levels to strictly adhere to WASH principles to prevent infections, however, due to lack of knowledge or WASH infrastructure, there had been low adherence.
She said apart from handwashing hygiene, use of autoclave and other high-level disinfection methods to sterilize equipment after use, proper waste management and disposal was also key to preventing hospital associated infection and key to achieving the Universal Health Coverage agenda.
“We are trying to prevent a situation, where one goes to the hospital with one disease and return home with another because research has proven that if healthcare staff observe IPC guidelines, we are able to prevent about 90 per cent hospital associated infections,” she said.
Ms Estella Abazesi, the Bongo District Director, Ghana Health Service, lauded the efforts of WaterAid Ghana, for the immense support over the years to improve access to WASH services and quality healthcare services and added that the refresher training on the IPC would improve hygienic healthcare environment at all health facilities in the district.