The use of photovoice as a means to explore the understanding of Infection Prevention and Control in a rural hospital in the Solomon Islands

Vanessa Sparke 1, Caryn West 1, David McLaren 1, Jane Mills 2

James Cook University, Smithfield, QLD, Australia

RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia


Photovoice is a process whereby participants use photography to document their needs, experiences and perceptions. Introduced in the 1990’s, photovoice has three main goals: to enable people to record and reflect their community’s strengths and concerns, to promote dialogue and knowledge about issues through the discussion of photographs, and to reach policy makers.

Atoifi Adventist Hospital (AAH) serves a population of approximately 80,000 people, many living in small remote villages with no modern amenities. Self-identified as willing to implement infection prevention and control (IP&C) measures within their health facility, the people and staff of Atoifi are no strangers to communicable diseases. The 2014 local measles outbreak and a dysentry outbreak in 2015 resulted in a 56% hospitalisation rate. Although community response to the outbreaks was high, the response lacked formalised IP&C practices and disease control expertise.

As part of a larger WHO funded grant, an audit of (IP&C) processes and practices was undertaken at AAH, Solomon Islands in April 2016. During the audit it became clear that a lack of consumable resources, an unsupportive built environment, and a knowledge-practice gap meant that a top down approach to developing an IP&C plan was unsuitable. Photovoice can be powerful for people who are unable to express themselves using the language of IP&C. Photovoice can provide insight into staff perceptions of IP&C issues, enabling the staff of AAH, who have expertise and insight into their own community (which an outsider lacks) to assist in the bottom-up development of an appropriate IP&C plan.

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