Ministry of Health validates Liberia’s first National Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines to promote quality healthcare and patient safety

 Group photo of stakeholders at the IPC validation workshop in MonroviaMonrovia, 31 May 2018:  The National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Program at the Ministry of Health (MoH) with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a one day workshop in Monrovia to validate Liberia’s National IPC guidelines. Infection prevention and control is an approach designed to prevent harm caused by infection to patients and health workers. The validation workshop provided an opportunity for key stakeholders including healthcare professionals, regulatory bodies and other health partners to critically review and provide technical inputs into the new guidelines. 

The 2014-2016 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the country highlighted critical gaps, including lack of standardized IPC practices within healthcare settings thereby contributing 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.   
Dr. Catherine Cooper, Assistant Health Minister for Curative Services, noted that, the validation of the IPC guideline was a significant step for safe and quality health service delivery in Liberia. “After the validation, the national IPC guideline is expected to be an important tool that will meet our needs in the fight to prevent and control infectious diseases in the country,” she told the gathering. 
“We will stand with the MOH shoulder to shoulder and ensure that the document becomes functional,” said Dr. Charles W. Oliver, Infectious Disease Team Lead, United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  
In his remarks, WHO Country Representative, Dr. Alex Gasasira commended MOH and other partners for the tremendous progress made in IPC since the 2014-2016 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak. “This progress is demonstrated by regular monitoring of IPC standards and practices in health facilities nation-wide” Dr. Gasasira.   
Also making remarks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Country Representative, Dr. Desmond Williams described the validation of the IPC guideline as an important milestone in the implementation of IPC practices in Liberia.  “We hope these guidelines will be put to use by healthcare workers across Liberia” Dr. Williams said. 
Present at the workshop were representatives from other agencies and health partners, including the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Expertise France and the Academic Consortium Combating Ebola in Liberia (ACCEL).  The workshop was facilitated by the MOH QMU team and the WHO IPC team.

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