With an estimated 4.95 million deaths globally associated with Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in 2019, it has come to our attention that we need to come together and respond, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar.
“It is hoped that departments and disciplines including doctors, nurses, allied healthcare workers and administrators work together to develop effective monitoring systems and protocols for infection prevention and control,” he said at the International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom, The Empire Brunei on Saturday.
The event saw over 150 members of healthcare professionals in attendance.
The minister added that it is noteworthy that Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) has developed a robust infection control programme, surveillance protocols, diagnostic testing capability and quality improvement.
Armed with this capacity, and with strategic guidance from the Ministry of Health (MoH), “it is hopeful that we continue to enhance our preparedness for surges in both healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19”, he said.
“It is an honour to partake in the celebration of the IIPW which aims to shine a light on the Infection Prevention profession and on this extra special year we celebrate 50 years of IIPW. In conjunction with this date, it is an opportunity for us to reflect on our progress, consider challenges and plan together our Infection Prevention and Control measures in order to deliver safe, effective care where good quality patient outcomes are our primary focus,” he said.
The plenary session also observed that COVID-19 has shown the world the experts known as Infection Preventionists (IPs), who ensure that healthcare personnel and institutions do everything they should to prevent diseases from spreading.
“They are essential to maintaining the safety and well-being of our communities. Infection control specialists come from a range of backgrounds, many of them have degrees in nursing, epidemiology, public health, microbiology, lab technology, or medicine. The infection prevention and control community are defending us against a worldwide pandemic, as well as increases in HAIs, measles outbreaks, flu, and a host of other ongoing infectious conflicts.”
It was further discussed that since its establishment in 1986, IIPW has worked to raise awareness of infection prevention. The theme for this year is ‘The Future is Infection Prevention: 50 Years of Infection Prevention’, aimed to inspire the following generation of IPs to take up the cause by highlighting the decades of infection prevention over Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s (APIC) of 50 years history.
It was also shared that in accordance with the theme, IPs have discovered techniques to prevent and break the transmission of infections. The sole solution is to break this chain at any point. Breaking the chain involves frequently cleaning hands, being vaccinated, wearing a face mask when having flu symptoms, staying home when sick, using personal protective equipment properly, maintaining a clean environment, sterilising medical equipment, using safe injection techniques, and carefully utilising medications to prevent antibiotic resistance.
Celebrating IIPW, JPMC held a series of symposiums and workshops for healthcare professionals over the weekend.
According to IIPW Chairperson, in his capacity as JPMC Medical Director, Dr Meera Sahib Kabeer, “It is an opportunity for infection control experts to raise awareness of their work among the community and personnel about the importance of infection prevention.”
Infection Prevention, Epidemiology Director at Singapore General Hospital Associate Professor Ling Moi Lin and Medical Director, Consultant Disease Physician at Mount Novena Specialist Centre, Singapore Dr Leong Hoe Nam were among the International experts invited to the symposium and to facilitate workshops. Religious Officer Ishkandar bin Haji Buntar led the recitation of Doa, followed by opening remarks by Dr Meera Sahib Kabeer who is also the Chairperson of Infection Control Committee of JPMC.
“The practice of infection prevention and control has always been critical in protecting the health care system. It has been more than 10 years to accomplish greater heights and have expanded JPMC and including Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC).
“Therefore, it is an opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to both JPMC and PJSC infection control team for maintaining its COVID-19 centres and to thank the Ministry of Health for the support during the pandemic and endemic phases”.
The event also saw a presentation of tokens of appreciation to the invited speakers and event sponsor Merk Sharp and Dohme (MSD).
JPMC also held a digital poster competition campaign of two categories for employees, Hand Hygiene and Cough Etiquette. Winners were awarded cash prizes presented by the guest of honour. The event proceeded with plenary sessions from the invited speakers.