Ajish K. Thankachan, ICP, CIC

Location: Saudi Arabia

Title: Infection Prevention & Control Professional

Company/ Organization: Armed Forces Hospital Nothern Area

First Certified: October 2020

Whille we were listning to the news of the contagious disease devastation from wuhan  in early 2020 we were not expecting it to cross all the borders and reach  our facility, Historical planning, especially in settings like a military health care facility, has focused on local and regional events, not global pandemics. While we’ve had global pandemics in recent years such as the 2009 H1n1 influenza, and 2012 MERS-CoV, the COVID-19 has been much more severe and has highlighted these vulnerabilities.

Covid-19 pandemic that swept rapidly around the world reached our hospital reporting the first case in March. As we already had a contagious disease surge plan, we were well equiped. We handled it well and were able to implement all what I have learnd during my CIC prepration.

Mostly we focus on preventing infections or transmission or keeping staff safe while they’re working in healthcare facilities by implementing strict visual triage at all patient entrance.  Infection preventionists had to work very closely with all other allied teams like the HVAC to prepare additional rooms with portable HEPA filters,our supply chain and look at all of our options and really keep track of it,our housekeeping staff to provide them necessary suplies and traning regarding the cleaning and disinfection.

It’s also prompting us to consider how we can bolster infection control processes and train our staff to better prepare for the future. Best practices are only “best” when they are executed by staff who have a clear understanding of the importance of each proces.Repeated, multiple training  sections or spot-checks also enhance understanding and compliance.

We emphaisise on team work and coloboration with other key members, also examine their work processes to streamline care without sacrificing quality and also ensure PPE and pandemic-related supplies are available and used appropriately.

Next, this pandemic has emphasized the importance of collaboration between providers and facility supply chain partners to identify needs in real time, and with distributors and manufacturers to allocate product appropriately, when and where it is needed.We need to heed the lessons of this pandemic to ensure that planning for future pandemics can better preserve lives and ensure staff safety.