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ICAP

Infection Prevention & Control

Infection Prevention & Control

Infection prevention and control (IPC) initiatives aim to protect patients, health care workers,  and communities from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). HAIs occur in every country and health care setting and affect hundreds of millions of people each year. Examples of HAIs include infections associated with devices like catheters, surgery, suboptimal hand hygiene, poorly-ventilated health facilities, and the failure to properly isolate patients with communicable diseases. Health care settings can also be the source of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a growing and serious global public health threat.

Evidence-based IPC strategies can prevent HAIs by strengthening health systems, improving infrastructure, building laboratory capacity, enhancing safe health facility management, and training and mentorship of health care workers. In response to the global threat of HAIs and AMR, ICAP at Columbia University supports  IPC capacity building, implementation, program evaluation, surveillance, and outbreak management and response around the world.

ICAP’s IPC initiatives include supporting ministries of health to strengthen IPC policies and programs; designing and developing IPC competencies, curricula, monitoring, and evaluation frameworks and assessment tools; and spearheading IPC-focused quality improvement initiatives. ICAP also promotes IPC integration with other programs, including antimicrobial stewardship, water sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and occupational health, to make health care safe for workers, patients, and communities.

ICAP’s Approach to Building IPC Capacity

ICAP collaborates with ministries of health and key stakeholders to develop and implement IPC programs and to build capacity at national and facility levels. ICAP’s evidence-based and comprehensive approaches include:

  • Policies, strategies, and guidelines: ICAP partners with ministries of health to support the design and development of national IPC policies and guidelines, strategic plans, standard operating procedures, and job aides.
  • Workforce development: ICAP designs, develops and delivers competency-based IPC curricula and training materials for health care workers at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels for nursing, medical, and public health students around the world.
  • Technical assistance (TA): ICAP provides TA to ministries of health,  academic institutions, and health care facilities in IPC capacity building, monitoring, and standard IPC practices, as needed.
  • Quality Improvement: ICAP supports countries to design and implement IPC-focused QI projects for sustainable improvement in IPC standard practices.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: ICAP provides support for the development of M&E frameworks, monitoring tools, and IPC data visualizations.
  • Surveillance: surveillance data on healthcare-associated infection (HAI) rates can help identify and track gaps in infection prevention, as well as identify strategies that impact IPC programs.
  • Learning networks: ICAP facilitates regional learning networks that foster knowledge sharing, joint learning, and co-creation of resources to improve compliance with IPC standards.

ICAP’s support empowers stakeholders to deliver effective IPC services that reduce the risk of HAIs and antimicrobial resistance. The global spread of COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2) illustrates the critical importance of this strategy and ICAP’s continued work in this domain.

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