With the World Health Organisation (WHO) having declared the Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic, Pacific Island Countries & Territories (PICTs) health ministries are on high alert and are instituting precautionary measures to ensure community safety and well-being.
Health professionals and agencies are advising the public to practise protection measures like, regularly and thoroughly washing hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub, staying home when sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and practicing good respiratory hygiene, including covering mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Villa Central Hospital Vanuatu, undertakes training in response to COVID 19
The Pacific Community (SPC), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in Vanuatu, conducted an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) assessment and an IPC training workshop at the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) in Vanuatu on 2-6 March 2020. 41 participants comprising of medical officers, midwives, nurses from VCH and neighbouring health centres attended the workshop. Participants were taught on how to break the chain of infection in a healthcare environment and discussed the COVID 19 consequences of not following infection prevention and control recommendations. Demonstration on and return demonstration of how to properly wear and remove personal protective equipment (PPE) were among the highlights of the workshop.
Post training, participants have gained more confidence, knowledge and reinforcement of the importance of infection prevention and control.
“Now I know what to do and educate the public about COVID-19. Actually, I’ve learnt a lot from this training”- Susan T CNS
“The workshop has given me confidence on how to manage infected COVID-19 and also the precautions/prevention from direct and indirect contact”- David T RN
“I learned about how COVID-19 is spread and the standard precautions. I also learned about the preventative measures as well as how to protect myself as a healthy worker by wearing personal protective equipment”- Ethleen T RN
“I have learned that COVID-19 is preventable when we do proper management and good awareness about this to the public on how to prevent it from spreading. Hygiene is important”- Roselyn M RN
The next step with IPC for Vanuatu
According to the WHO, Infection Prevention and Control is one of the eight pillars of the public health response to any public health disease threats such as the importation of COVID-19 virus and is an essential requirement for outbreak preparedness and response.
Villa Central Hospital IPC policy/guideline is in the process of revision, following findings from the IPC assessment, to make it more robust and suited for COVID-19 response.
Vanuatu Ministry of Health authorities, SPC and WHO are collaborating to address the recommendations from the IPC assessment.
The IPC assessment and training workshop was made possible through the support of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia (DFAT) and The European Union (EU), and with technical support from WHO.