As Mozambique’s health system braces for an expected surge of COVID-19 cases, ICAP and Resolve to Save Lives (an initiative of Vital Strategies) have partnered to train health care workers across the country on critical infection prevention control measures to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Health care workers are not only at higher risk of COVID-19 infection, but they can also amplify outbreaks within health facilities among their colleagues and patients if they do become ill. Quality training in infection prevention and control is critical to equip health care workers with the information that they need to not only protect themselves, but also to mount an effective response to COVID-19 in the communities they serve.

In partnership with the Ministry of Health in Mozambique, ICAP is working to ensure that health care providers throughout the country’s health system have the knowledge and practical skillsets they need to maintain health services safely throughout the course of the pandemic. Between May and June 2020, ICAP trained its first cohorts of master trainers, health care workers, and community outreach workers. In all, almost 450 people were trained to identify potential cases and triage care; prevent infections of health care workers and patients seeking any kind of clinical services; maintain essential health services; and communicate to their patients and communities about the risks of COVID-19.

“Thanks to the IPC training, I feel more protected [at work] and am supporting other colleagues including staff from the Ministry of Health, external partners, and patients about how they can protect themselves from COVID-19,” said Nurse Firosa Hassane Dauto, who provides maternal and child health care services at Akumi Health Facility in Nacala District. “I benefited from the explanation and demonstration of the correct use of personal protection equipment, practicing good hygiene, maintaining social distance, and knowing to stay home when sick.”

In addition to technical trainings, ICAP staff are working hand-in-hand with health facility leadership at ten high volume facilities providing health services to individuals most at-risk for COVID infection to develop institutional infection prevention and control procedures and practices.

“Without adequate training of health workers and routinized infection prevention control measures in place, even the most well-equipped facilities will struggle with the spread of infectious diseases. This has always been true and, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, could not be of more importance,” said Mirriah Vitale, ICAP country director in Mozambique. “With these trainings, ICAP is ensuring that health care workers are empowered with the information they need to protect themselves, their patients, the health system, and ultimately, the people of Mozambique from the impact of COVID-19.”

The initiative is funded through the support of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global public health organization Vital Strategies, and is currently providing high-impact trainings in thirteen countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including Mozambique.

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