Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Standards and Protocols

Photo by Steve Sara / MCSP

Appropriate Resources:

While specific infection prevention and control (IPC) considerations are addressed in this section, all the other WASH components are required to ensure effective IPC in a healthcare environment. Appropriate disinfectant and hygiene supplies should be available and conveniently placed to facilitate staff compliance with IPC protocols and standards for disinfecting surfaces, surgical & medical instruments, hands and laundry.

Note: National policies and standards should also be consulted when designing, monitoring or evaluating IPC standards.

Appropriate Staff, Process and Management Considerations:

Every HCF should have infection prevention and control protocols for routine IPC. Specific IPC protocols should be developed for specific wards (e.g., surgery, delivery rooms, NICUs etc). Each HCF should also establish IPC protocols to manage infectious disease outbreaks. All HCF staff should be trained in IPC protocols. Managers should create systems for monitoring and enforcing staff IPC compliance. Patients and visitors should also be counseled on their role in IPC. Staff should enforce patient and visitor compliance with sanitation and hygiene protocols.

MCSP Rapid Assessment Questions:

To improve infection prevention and control measures, each HCF can consider the following questions from MCSP’s HCF rapid assessment tool. The tool was adapted from WHO’s Essential Environmental Standards in Health Care.

Are infection prevention and control protocols in place for the following:
• Routine, general HCF IPC
• Protocols for specific wards/events, such as delivery, surgery, sick newborn care, infectious disease event (e.g., Ebola)

Design and construction Operation and maintenance
1
  • Are IPC protocols in place for the following:
    • Routine, general HCF IPC
    • Protocols for specific wards/events, such as delivery, surgery, sick newborn care, infectious disease event (e.g., Ebola)
  • Are all HCF staff (health workers and non-health workers) trained in IPC measures as outlines in the IPC protocols?
  • Are patients and visitors counseled in IPC measures? Do staff enforce patient and visitor compliance?
2
  • Are staff adequately trained in infection control procedures?
  • Do staff follow infection control procedures correctly and consistently?
3
  • Are staff informed about changes and updated about plans or strategies?
  • Do staff follow new procedures?
4
  • Is appropriate equipment available for cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment?
  • Is medical equipment appropriately cleaned and then disinfected or sterilized between uses?
5
  • Are handwashing stations conveniently available for patients and visitors?
  • Are handwashing stations routinely filled with water and stocked with soap to facilitate handwashing?
6
  • Are conveniently placed handwashing stations accessible to each labor and delivery ward?
  • Is there always soap or a suitable alternative at handwashing points?

Additional Tools and Resources for Infection Prevention and Control Standards and Protocols in health care settings: