‘Infection prevention is everyone’s concern,’ says health minister


Guests viewing the displays in the exhibition

The occasion was marked by an exhibition on basic hygiene and a video on the hazards of antibiotics at the Seychelles Hospital’s red roof building yesterday. This was attended by Health Minister Mitcy Larue, principal secretary Veronique Laporte, minister’s special advisor Peggy Vidot, several doctors and nurses and other health officials.

Inaugurating the infection prevention week, Ms Larue said the ministry wants to heighten awareness about infection prevention and to celebrate the work being done to reduce health-associated infections in our community while engaging everyone in this endeavour.

“This is because I strongly believe that infection prevention is everyone’s business,” she said, adding  that by celebrating this week, the ministry is aiming to broaden the understanding that everyone – the infection preventionists, doctors, nurses, health care administrators, policy makers, allied health professionals and clients must work together to protect patients through preventing infection.

Ms Larue said it is well known and a proven fact that the most important and basic measure for infection prevention is timely and effective hand hygiene. This is because many of the germs causing these infections are transferred by hand when health-care providers or visitors are touching the patients while providing help.

“It is critical therefore if we want to reduce the risk of health care-related infections in patients that proper hand hygiene is practiced throughout the health facilities,” she added.
She noted that hand washing can be done by water and soap, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends rubbing with an alcohol-based formulation as the most effective and easiest method for hand hygiene performance during  routine health-care delivery.

Visitors enhancing their awareness of good hand hygiene practice

Ms Larue suggested that we devote more energy to spread the practice of hand hygiene and make it “infectious”. She noted that we each have a role in creating this movement. Just like with infection, when someone comes into contact with an infected person, the infection is passed on, let this practice be passed on to impact positively on our community.

She said the United Nation’s message ‘Clean hands save lives’ needs to be a daily mantra for everyone and this will ensure that we shall minimise the incidences of infection.

In a symbolic gesture of good hand hygiene practice, the minister washed her hands with alcohol gel before touching the exhibits.

Earlier, the chairperson of the infection control committee, Dr Meggy Louange, said there is a clear need to heighten awareness of infection prevention as germs can be spread everywhere, including the work places and homes, unless proper hand hygiene is maintained. She said it is critical that all the norms of hand hygiene be observed at all times.

PS Laporte said the exhibition had been one first step and that infection prevention is so crucial to health that the ministry is targeting the awareness to embrace the entire community.
Many of the posters feature the best ways of hand hygiene. One said the best way to dry hands is with a clean, dry towel or disposable towel, which must not be re-used as they could already harbour disease-borne bacteria.

The video presentation focused on the proper use of antibiotics which are often prescribed by doctors to counter various infectious diseases. It said that there are various groups and categories of antibiotics and that it was risky to be taking them unless prescribed by a doctor and delivered by a pharmacy. It was stressed that unless antibiotics are absorbed in the right dosage and in the full course, there can be serious undesired effects.