Introduction: Good Infection prevention and control (IPC) is vital for tackling antimicrobial resistance and limiting health care-associated infections. We compared IPC performance before (2019) and during the COVID-19 (2021) era at the national IPC unit and all regional (4) and district hospitals (8) in Sierra Leone.
Methods: Cross-sectional assessments using standardized World Health Organizations IPC checklists. IPC performance scores were graded as inadequate = 0−25%, basic = 25.1−50%, intermediate = 50.1−75%, and advanced = 75.1−100%.
Results: Overall performance improved from ‘basic’ to ‘intermediate’ at the national IPC unit (41% in 2019 to 58% in 2021) and at regional hospitals (37% in 2019 to 54% in 2021) but remained ‘basic’ at district hospitals (37% in 2019 to 50% in 2021). Priority gaps at the national IPC unit included lack of: a dedicated IPC budget, monitoring the effectiveness of IPC trainings and health care-associated infection surveillance. Gaps at hospitals included no assessment of hospital staffing needs, inadequate infrastructure for IPC and lack of a well-defined monitoring plan with clear goals, targets and activities.
Conclusion: Although there is encouraging progress in IPC performance, it is slower than desired in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is urgent need to mobilize political will, leadership and resources and make a quantum leap forward.
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Fofanah, B., Abrahamyan, A., Maruta, A., Kallon, C., Thekkur, P., Kamara, I., Njuguna, C., Squire, J., Kanu, J., Bah, A., Lakoh, S., Kamara, D., Hermans, V. & Zachariah, R. 2022, 'Achieving Minimum Standards for Infection Prevention and Control in Sierra Leone: Urgent Need for a Quantum Leap in Progress in the COVID-19 Era!', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(9), article no: 5642. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095642