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Tue 6 Jan 2009 04:00 AM

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GCC publishes manual on infection control

An infection control policy manual is to be sent out across the Gulf this month in a bid to improve practice around the management and prevention of healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), a leading infection control expert has revealed.

An infection control policy manual is to be sent out across the Gulf this month in a bid to improve practice around the management and prevention of healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), a leading infection control expert has revealed.

The document will set out best practice in terms of caring for patients found to have a HAIs and policies on stopping the spread of infection. This includes strict hand hygiene for staff, rigorous cleaning protocols and isolating patients.

It will be followed later in the year by a surveillance manual that aims to standardise the collection and collation of data on rates and prevalence of HAIs in the region.

The manual will allow a regional picture of infection control issues to be built up, according to Dr Ziad Memish, executive director of infection, prevention and control at the National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA), Saudi Arabia.

"We want countries to collect the data the same way as there are many hospitals and countries that do it their own way."

"The vision is to standardise the policy and start collecting data, so we can bench mark in the region and prioritise countries, and hospitals, where we need to work hard to bring the rates down," Dr Memish said.

NGHA is acting as the GCC collaborating centre for infection control. The manuals have the backing of all seven health ministers as part of their commitment to the World Health Organisation's 2005 campaign on patient safety that includes infection control.

From the limited data available at present the prevalence of HAIs in the Eastern Mediterranean region is estimated to be between 8% and 12% of all patients admitted to acute care, Dr Memish added.

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