Monrovia — Liberia's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kateh says the National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guideline is an invaluable tool for building a resilient health sector.
IPC is an approach designed to prevent harm caused by infection to patients and health workers.
Speaking at the start of a week-long guideline implementation and orientation workshop in Monrovia recently, Dr. Kateh said now that the IPC guideline has been validated, it was time for health workers to ensure its full implementation.
He thanked Liberia's partners including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States' Center for Disease Control (CDC) for their continuous support to the health sector of Liberia.
"I want to say thank you to people that have work with us through the toughest time. You are our true friend. It may be tough and rough sometimes. But one of the important things in life is to have people around you during the time you are in need of them the most," he said.
He cautioned health workers to use the document as a tool in discharging their duty.
"The document has been validated. When you leave from here, it is not just to leave and put it (the guideline) on the shelves. It's how we can begin to implement it. And this is the process that will lead us to the resiliency we in the healthcare system. We cannot do it and police everyone but if we all work together people will see our action and tell that the right things are done," he averred.
Dr. Kateh continues; "Based on your experience and how you are going to maneuver during those difficult times is what going to get us where we ought to get. The keys are in your hands, it's up to you as individuals to make sure that you help in getting where we all want to be, he noted."
Also speaking, WHO Emergency, Preparedness and Response Officer, Dr. April Baller described the crafting and validation of the IPC guidelines as a significant milestone in the process of building a resilient health system in Liberia.
She noted that the framework that has been established is the culmination of multiple pieces of training acquired and effort applied by all health workers in tackling the deadly outbreaks including the Ebola, measles and laser fever.
She called on health workers to use 'this wonderful tool and knowledge' to have a robust health system.
"With this tool and knowledge, you have now in your hands what is needed to have a resilient health system so that any shocks that come will not break down the system here," she averred.
"For that to happen," she continues, "health care workers today and the future generation needs to understand and practice what is in the IPC. Please note that your selection to be here today was not taken lightly. It was based on your profile and your competency, your commitment and your leadership."
For his part, the Country Director of the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Desmond E. Williams expressed hope that the IPC guidelines will be one of the standing legacies of the Ebola outbreak wherein every healthcare worker will learn and be guided by the document in discharging of their duties.
Said Dr. Williams: "Never again should we allow our healthcare workers to die the way they died during the Ebola outbreak. Never again should we allow an outbreak to cripple our healthcare system like it did here in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. And for us to make sure that it never happens again, we need to adopt these guidelines."
"I hope that every single health care worker before they leave service training, before they leave their colleges, before they leave their technical institute should understand and know this IPC guideline document by heart so that when they go out and start practicing in their various locations, they will be able to automatically do these things."
The 2014-2016 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the country highlighted critical gaps, including lack of standardized IPC practices within the healthcare settings. This contributed to EVD transmission to healthcare workers and patients.
WHO recommends that each country should have a National IPC Program and IPC guidelines. Liberia's Ministry of Health established a National IPC Program within the Quality Management Unit in 2015.