December 6, 2022

Capacity building for Infection Prevention and Control in Papua New Guinea

A core theme of the COMBAT-AMR project has been to improve infection prevention and control (IPC) in healthcare facilities, with further progress being made earlier this month in Papua New Guinea.

Following the successful completion of the situation needs assessment late last year, the team has worked in concert with the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) IPC Committee to develop the contents and programs for a series of workshops for the hospital staff.

After several years of remote/virtual training, members of the COMBAT-AMR team travelled to deliver these activities in-person to eager hospital staff, with representatives from all departments taking part. The multi-disciplinary approach of this trip can be highlighted via the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) workshop held across Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th October, with topics covered including IPC, antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) and the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives. Additionally, the team hosted a more-specialised workshop focusing on healthcare-associated infection (HAI) surveillance on Friday 7th October for relevant staff.

Dr Gabriella Ak, Clinical Microbiologist at PMGH thought highly of the activities: “[There were] a lot of interactive sessions, local data presentations and discussions on how to move forward as a hospital regarding AMS and IPC with good support from Microbiology.”

For the members of the COMBAT-AMR team, it was fantastic to meet with key staff and tour the PMGH facilities for the first time since 2019.

COMBAT-AMR team in discussions with PMGH IPC Committee on-site.
“It makes a difference meeting onsite and having these discussions under the shade of a mango tree [when] compared to the last few years,”

said A/Prof Andrew Stewardson, IPC theme co-lead for the project.

“We were also able to see the changes [brought about by] previous collaborative work supported by COMBAT-AMR, such as the alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) facility. It has been perceived as a huge success locally, with the hospital community appreciating this reliable, cost-effective supply of ABHR for PMGH.”
Project team visiting the shipping container site for the alcohol-based hand rub facility.

Additionally, whilst in-country the team were able to engage with the World Health Organisation (WHO) lead for IPC, allowing for an improved understanding of how the two groups can work together to facilitate strengthening activities in the area.

The key outcome of these workshops has been to enable the resident healthcare professionals to make informed decisions locally, thus building the capacity to better respond to future situations, with the successful completion of these activities further assisting with the progress of other key themes in the region such as AMS.