October 13, 2021

Alcohol-based hand rub production facility launches at Port Moresby General Hospital, Papua New Guinea

In partnership with COMBAT-AMR, a new facility producing alcohol-based hand rub has opened at the Port Moresby General Hospital in Papua New Guinea to support the Infection Prevention and Control procedures at the hospital.

Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, discussions with the World Health Organization (WHO) Papua New Guinea Country Office and Port Moresby General Hospital identified the need to establish local production of essential alcohol-based hand rub.

As the threat of the pandemic increased, the need for a sustainable supply of alcohol-based hand rub became greater. As a result, the project was prioritised and accelerated as a key COMBAT-AMR activity in Papua New Guinea.

The Burnet Institute, COMBAT-AMR Country Project Engagement Lead for Papua New Guinea, worked closely with the Port Moresby General Hospital to support the development and implementation of the facility. This included the procurement of reagents and equipment and providing expert advice on the set-up and production of a WHO approved alcohol-based hand rub.

Images left to right: Shipping container site and production rooms at the alcohol-based hand rub facility.

“Good hand hygiene practices are essential in reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and healthcare associated infections,” says Gilam Tamolsaian, COMBAT-AMR project coordinator for Papua New Guinea.

“Alcohol-based hand rub is an efficient tool to strengthen hand hygiene practices in healthcare environments, as it can be used at the point of care to ensure patients are kept safe.”

Ongoing production at the facility is managed by staff at the Port Moresby General Hospital, where the alcohol-based hand rub is initially being distributed.

“Reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistant infections is a key priority for the hospital to ensure patient safety,” says Dr. Gabriella Ak, microbiologist at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

“Having control of the alcohol-based hand rub supply will be more sustainable for the hospital long-term and strengthen our existing hand hygiene practices.”

The production facility will monitor and evaluate the supply and demand requirements for the Port Moresby General Hospital, and for future planning will assess the scope for supplying alcohol-based hand rub to external facilities.