oa African Journal of Health Professions Education - Impact of a quality improvement project to strengthen infection prevention and control training at rural healthcare facilities : supplement 1 - short report

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5127



South Africa (SA) has a dire shortage of skilled infection prevention and control (IPC) practitioners with limited opportunities for IPC training, especially in rural areas.

This quality improvement research-based case study surveyed healthcare workers' IPC training needs and measured the impact of a targeted IPC training intervention at four healthcare facilities in a rural sub-district in the Western Cape Province of SA. Transfer and implementation of IPC knowledge and best practice were evaluated at the participating facilities, both pre and post intervention.
Most survey respondents (239/271; 88.2%) practised in rural districts and reportedly received infrequent (either annual or no) in-service training in IPC (138/271; 51%). The IPC education intervention (five short courses) was attended by almost one-third of clinical staff (129/422; 30.6%) at the four rural healthcare facilities. The pre-intervention IPC assessment identified the following: poor knowledge and implementation of tuberculosis-IPC measures; limited knowledge of medical device decontamination; high rates of needle-stick injuries; low hand-hygiene compliance rates and poor compliance with personal protective equipment use. At the post-intervention assessment, IPC knowledge scores and hand-hygiene compliance rates improved significantly but some IPC practices were unchanged.
A structured IPC training programme in rural healthcare facilities can improve healthcare workers' IPC knowledge, but has limited impact on clinical practice.

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