Updates from the Field - Training Health Care Workers in Prevention and Control Practices

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Health Builders staff continues our work to support health centers in rural Rwanda in a number of ways. At the end of November, Health Builders hosted a training to improve infection prevention and control practices for 16 health centers in northwestern Rwanda.

Prior to the training, these health centers did not have basic guidelines and protocols available to guide staff and only one had health care workers who were properly trained and an adequate sterilization service.

The training, which was conducted in conjunction with the local government and the Shyira hospital, consisted of a three-day session on infection prevention and control for 32 health workers from 16 health centers in Nyabihu district.

The goal of the program was to equip healthcare workers with necessary knowledge and skills to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections and maintain the safety of staff and patients.

The training covered number of topics, including:

  • Strategies to reduce the transmission of healthcare associated infections and monitor any existing cases
  • Review of national guidelines and protocols for hand hygiene and personal protective equipment
  • Training on cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of healthcare equipment and environment and proper waste management
  • Screening for infectious diseases and protocols to isolate patients to avoid contamination

During the training and arising discussions, a representative from the district committed to supply the health centers this year with any necessary equipment that they were previously lacking.

The training was highly effective, resulting in a significant increase in health workers’ knowledge and mastery of infection prevention and control practices. Prior to taking the training, less than a third of participants scored at least 70% on a test used to assert their knowledge on infection prevention. After the training, all the participants score 70% or higher on the test, with a median score of 90%.

Liliane Mutuyimana, an Environmental Health Officer of Mwiyanike Health Center, was one of the participants at the workshop. She shared that prior to the training, the health center did not have clear hygiene protocols. For example, cleaners at times used only water to clean infectious risk zones, such as the maternity ward, rather than proper cleaning solutions.

As a result of the training, Liliane is working to enact critically needed proper infectious disease  protocols at the health center. This is pivotal to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I understood that we were putting patients as well as ourselves in danger of contamination and at risk for COVID-19. From now on, I understand that it is my responsibility to teach cleaners to make highly effective cleaning solutions and why it is so important to strictly practice all the other infection control procedures according to standard health regulations. I thank Health Builders a lot for the daily support they give us in the health centers and especially for this training,” she said.