Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Standards and Protocols
Photo by Steve Sara / MCSP
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)
Additional Tools and Resources for Infection Prevention and Control Standards and Protocols in health care settings:
- In 2017, WHO & UNICEF published the WASHFit Tool, which includes essential indicator and advanced indicator assessment tools for IPC (Tool 2), risk assessment templates (Tool 3), and improvement plan templates (Tool 4).
- The WHO maintains an Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare page that contains resources and news on IPC. The webpage also has IPC resources related to specific infectious diseases.
- In 2016, WHO published the Guidelines on core components of infection prevention and control programmes at the national and acute health care facility level. The guidelines are meant to enhance the capacity of Member States to develop and implement effective technical and behavior modifying interventions.
- WHO has also published a set of core Core components for IPC – Implementation tools and resources.