HIV Treatment and Infection Prevention and Control Practices in Health Care Facilities

U.S. and Zimbabwe Partner to Improve HIV Treatment and Infection Prevention and Control  Practices in Health Care Facilities

Who: Ministry of Health and Child Care– Brigadier General Dr. G.  Gwinji and Ms. C M Z Chasokela

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zimbabwe – Dr. Shirish Balachandra, HIV Care and Treatment Officer

PEPFAR implementing partners for IPC – Zimbabwe Infection Prevention and Control Project consortium which comprises: the Biomedical Research and Training Institute Infection Control Association of Zimbabwe and Management Sciences for Health

What: The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) will launch a National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Policy, Strategic and M&E Plans aimed at strengthening infection control practices in health care facilities nationwide.  The IPC plans set standards for IPC practice in health facilities to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), among patients and staff whilst the M&E plan outlines how results will be monitored over time, and how performance will be evaluated . The IPC plans were developed through a consultative process that was initiated by the East, Central and Southern African College of Nursing (ECSACON), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC/Zimbabwe.  Plans were finalized with financial assistance from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through CDC/Zimbabwe and Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI) under the Zimbabwe Infection Prevention and Control Project (ZIPCOP). One of ZIPCOP’s key objectives is to assist the MOHCC to institute policies and guidelines in order to facilitate the implementation of infection and control programs in health facilities. In 2013, ZIPCOP supported the development of the MOHCC’s National IPC Guidelines which outlined the overarching principles and priorities for infection prevention and control in Zimbabwe’s health sector. The U. S. government through PEPFAR and CDC/Zimbabwe is supporting ZIPCOP with US$4.2 million from 2011 to date. BRTI is currently in the fourth year of a five-year cooperative agreement.

When: 3rd June 2015

Where: Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals

Why: Zimbabwe’s national HIV prevalence is approximately 14%, and TB is the number one cause of death among persons living with HIV (PLHIV) in Africa; consequently, it is of critical importance to implement measures to reduce the transmission of respiratory illness (including TB) in health care settings.

The MOHCC places the utmost importance on ensuring the safety of patients, health workers and visitors within its facilities and embraces the belief that “Quality Care is Safe Care.”  Minimizing the risks of infection is key to ensuring safety in health care settings. The MOHCC’s quest to provide quality health care services that are founded on the philosophy of Primary Health Care (PHC) and the principle of rights-based patient-centered care guided the development of this IPCPolicy.

The purpose of the IPC policy framework is to define the minimum national standards for    the effective infection prevention and control of health care-associated infections (HAI) to be implemented in Zimbabwe. Its vision is to provide “safer health care environments that protect and prevent patients, health workers and visitors from acquiring HAIs in all health Care service delivery facilities in Zimbabwe.”

“This represents an important milestone in the ongoing development and strengthening of Zimbabwe’s IPC activities, protecting both patients and health care workers from hospital-acquired infections,” said Dr. Shirish Balachandra, CDC/Zimbabwe’s HIV Care and Treatment Officer. “As individuals, we place an enormous trust in our health care facilities to provide a safe, healing environment. The National IPC Policy, Strategic Plan and M&E tools will help Zimbabwe’s health care system to honor that trust. CDC will continue to support the ZIPCOP program in its efforts to reduce HAI throughout the country.”“The IPC policy, Strategic and M&E plans are essential tools for guidance and effective implementation of evidence-based IPC activities in our health facilities, and demonstrates commitment to a culture of good IPC practice for the well-being of health staff, patients and the community at large” said Professor Exnevia Gomo, Director of ZIPCOP.

Both the U.S. and Zimbabwe governments are encouraged about the launch of the IPC policy and strategic plan and will continue to collaborate in the response to HIV/AIDS in the country. PEPFAR has pledged $95 million dollars towards the response to HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe for 2015.

Comments and queries should be addressed to:

Donald Mujiri, Public Relations Manager, MOHCC Tel: +263 71267337,

Gladys Dube, Infection Prevention & Control Liaison Officer MOHCW/ZIPCOP Tel:+263 (0)772377334,

Nikki Finnemann, Acting Public Affairs Officer. E-mail: Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: 758802.