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SA’s new infection control plan must be put into action ... fast

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SA’s new infection control plan must be put into action ... fast

A lack of dedicated IPC specialists, a field ‘not recognised as a speciality in Africa’, is putting lives at risk

Nthusang Lefafa

Whether it is in the queue outside a community healthcare clinic, in a GP’s waiting room or the ICU at a private-sector hospital, healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) pose a threat to people.

Measures taken to reduce these infection risks are referred to in healthcare circles as infection prevention and control (IPC) practices. Though the Covid-19 pandemic has firmly placed the spotlight on infection control, particularly as it relates to personal protective equipment (PPE) and limited access to Covid-19 wards, challenges with IPC are much older and broader than just the virus. Last year, for example, Spotlight took an in-depth look (https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2021/07/21/in-focus-how-to-protect-hospitalised-infants-from-dangerous-germs/) at the problem of infants getting infected with dangerous germs such as Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella in South African hospitals.

During International Infection Prevention Week in October 2021, the department of health launched the National Infection Prevention and Control Strategic Framework and Manual (https://www.nicd.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/National-Infection-Prevention-and-Control-Strategic-Framework-March-2020-1.pdf) that it first published in March 2020. It was launched to “reinforce the introduction of these documents (framework and manual) for comprehensive implementation across the public and private sector”, the department said...

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