Ministry of Health Validates National Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines

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Dr. Gasasira believes that Liberia has made tremendous progress in infection prevention and control

At least 45 healthcare professionals (including County Health Officers from the 15 counties and partners) yesterday, Tuesday, May 15, validated the country’s Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines (IPG) in Monrovia.

The guidelines were developed with the support of the World Health Organization, (WHO) United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (US-CDC), Academic Consortium Combating Ebola in Liberia Project (ACCEL) and other partners.

At the one-day Health Quality Management Unit (QMU) workshop, Dr. Alex Gasasira, the World Health Organization’s Representative, said the establishment of Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines at the national level will strengthen the capacity of healthcare professionals on the regional level.

“As we got out of the recent outbreak of Lassa fever,” he said, “one thing that is clear is that we used the experience that we gained from the  Ebola Virus  disease outbreak to manage the Lassa fever outbreaks.”

Dr. Gasasira said, despite the success rate at the Lassa fever prevention, “there is room for improvement and so those who have followed what has gone before us are aware that despite the challenges, Liberia has done well.”

He noted that it is timely for the current progress so far and we must congratulate all those who have made it possible for the successes we in Liberia have achieved.  Dr. Gasasira made specific reference to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Congo and said as it was the case in Liberia, the first individuals to confront the epidemic are healthcare professionals and therefore it is extremely necessary that guidelines are produced to safeguard those who are the frontliners in its prevention.

Mrs. Ellen Munemo, program director of Academic Consortium Combating Ebola in Liberia Project (ACCEL), said the document, once validated, will serve as a living guideline that will be used in all cases that involve infection prevention and control in the country.

“I am excited about the validation of this document and therefore as healthcare professionals, make sure that you use it in your daily work,” she said. She encouraged the participants to use it as a working tool to combat infectious diseases, their prevention, and control.

Dr. Charles W. Oliver, Infectious Disease Team Lead (USAID) said though he has recently arrived in the country, he is impressed with the resilience of the Ministry of Health and partners to come up with a document that others could use to their advantage.

“We want to assure you that we will stand by you, shoulder to shoulder,” Dr. Oliver said. “I want to congratulate you for the provision of a guideline document that will be used in your role to contribute to the prevention and control of infectious diseases in Liberia in particular and in the sub-region in general.”

Dr. Cooper, Assistant Minister for Curative Services

Representing Dr. Francis Nah Kateh, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Dr. Catherine Cooper, Assistant Minister for Curative Services (MOH), said the provision of the document that awaited validation was a step forward in the country’s fight to prevent and control infectious diseases.

“Because of the importance of Infection prevention and control of infectious disease, the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health established its Quality Management Unit (QMU) with an Infection Prevention and Control section embedded, “She added.

“After the validation,” Dr. Cooper said, “the document will become a tool that should meet our needs.” She told the gathering that during their deliberations, should they come across any suggestion worth to be added, it was their prerogative to recommend it.

“We value your input, so share your technical skills to improve this document,” Dr. Cooper said. She commended all those who were involved in the long road to the creation of the document, with particular reference to the country’s partners.

“We want to thank you for your support,” she told them. “Because without the material and financial support, we would not have reached where we are today.” Other speakers at the event included Mr. Garrison Kerwillain, National IPC Coordinator; Dr. Ngormbu Jusu Ballah, Director Quality Management Unit; Dr. Lekilay G. Tehmeh, Clinical Coordinator, QMU and Mrs. Comfort King Gbaie, QA Coordinator, QMU.

Other participants included National IPC focal persons drawn from the counties, healthcare-related organizations and healthcare administrators in the country.

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