The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday began training several local health workers, to improve their knowledge with up-to-date skills so as to fight any future outbreak.
The training is a four-day event the organization is hosting in collaboration with authorities of the Ministry of Health (MoH), under the theme, “National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Guidelines.”
More than 75 participating health workers were drawn from the 15 counties to learn the use of IPC guidelines in their day-to-day activities and to prevent them from losing their lives to outbreaks of strange viruses, like in the case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that plagued the country in 2014 and 2015.
Dr. Francis Kateh, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), said the importance of the IPC is a reflection of the EVD on health workers that lost their lives during the outbreak in 2014.
“It was unfortunate for health workers to lose their lives to the deadly Ebola virus; but with the introduction of the IPC guidelines, it will help the health workers to take the necessary preventive measures from the outbreak of other unknown diseases,” Dr. Kateh said.
He said before health workers take care of patients, they need to think of their personal well-being, because they could serve as transmitter of diseases to the patients, and also be infected the other way around.
“If we begin to look at our health on a daily basis, it will help us not to repeat what happened to our fallen health workers during the Ebola outbreak, because what happened was unfortunate for everyone of us,” Kateh said.
He then thanked those that have been dedicating themselves to ensure that IPC guidelines are provided to prevent health workers from contracting diseases in the event of an outbreak.
He urged health workers to create awareness on what needs to be done to prevent a disease outbreak.
Dr. Desmond Williams, US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Liberia Country Director, said the orientation on the IPC marks another step in a very long journey of trying to incorporate the practice into the culture of the healthcare delivery system in Liberia.
Dr. Williams therefore wants to see IPC as a standing legacy of the Ebola outbreak.
He added, “Never again should we allow our healthcare workers to die during an outbreak of any virus, never again should we allow a strange virus to cripple our health system. For us to make sure that does not happen again, we need to adopt the IPC guidelines.”
Dr. Williams expressed the hope that every healthcare worker will at the end of the orientation, know and understand the IPC guidelines, to prevent themselves from any disease outbreak.
Dr. April Baller, WHO Emergency Preparedness and Response Officer, said the orientation marks a milestone for Liberia’s health workers, because a strong health system is not built in a day’s time.
“The building of a resilient health system is a gradual process, which needs a foundation,” Baller said.
She said with the new IPC guidelines, health workers can now build a strong health system that will not easily be broken down.