Capacity building in our region, a focus on the Pacific

Dr Peta-Anne Zimmerman RN CICP1, 2, 3

 

1 Griffith Graduate Infection Prevention and Control Program, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University

2 Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service,

3 Menzies Health Institute QLD

Parklands Drive, Southport, QLD 4215,

p.zimmerman@griffith.edu.au

 

At present, resources and expertise in the prevention and control of healthcare associated infection (HAI) in low- and middle income (LMI) countries is minimal. Most LMI countries are struggling with this issue. Often they lack (or have minimal) infection control guidelines, infrastructure, policy directives or persons responsible for establishing, implementing and monitoring infection prevention and control programmes (IPCP) which are compounded by competing local health priorities. Individual case studies have illustrated how an IPCP can be adopted with little involvement from external agencies and how important it is to recognise performance gaps to catalyse change in healthcare. Awareness of staff within the health system to identify opportunities is paramount as is their ability to motivate change and seek the resources to enable it.

It has been suggested that partnerships, driven by internal local motivating forces, be facilitated by a body such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to coordinate development activities, instead of agencies working directly with countries in isolation to enable the best use of aid funding. The SPC has 26 members comprising 22 Pacific Island countries and territories and Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States of America. The Pacific Islands receive the highest per capita development dollars in the world, however conditions from a health and welfare perspective are not reflective of this. It is therefore paramount that capacity building activities, including IPCP activities be coordinated centrally by an appropriate governing body, yet the needs identified locally by the members of the Pacific community.

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