Infection Control in Developing Countries

Ann Whitfield1,

1Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, Murdoch, Western Australia,



The global burden of health care associated infection (HCAI) is unknown due to difficulty in obtaining reliable data. However, research has estimated 1.4 million patients worldwide are affected at any one time, highlighting a need for International collaboration to reduce HCAI. The author, an IP expert from Australia, has supported a vision to reduce HCAI in developing countries by sharing expertise with deployments to Tanzania, Liberia and West Timor.


  • provide technical expertise in IP
  • lead and support a self-assessment utilising the World Health Organization (WHO) IP tool and the Hand Hygiene tool
  • document, authenticate and analyse the IP data from the assessments and investigate any concerns
  • ensure recommendations reflect cultural needs, resources and efficiency
  • empower the workforce with IP expertise, leadership and use of reflection.


The use of the WHO assessment tools determines if the health care system operates safely whilst providing a path for realistic sustainable health care. These tools also provided a framework for education and the author’s expertise supported realistic goals.


  • The results varied from very low to high between healthcare services and countries. However, the assessments supported a focus to target improvements. With support some healthcare facilities improved significantly and others only slightly. Barriers mainly included environmental factors and resources.


Utilising WHO assessment tools supported a framework for change and improvements to reduce HACI in challenging environments, which had minimal resources and infrastructure. The author’s expertise and use of multifocal approaches assisted with engagement and effectiveness of resources available.



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