Supporting Infection Prevention and Control in Mali

December 07, 2020

Supporting Infection Prevention and Control in Mali

Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a critical tool for fighting infectious diseases because it strengthens achievements that have required significant health care investments and reduces costs by limiting disease transmission.

In 2017, Mali carried out a situational analysis as it was developing the national action plan for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The analysis revealed that, although national guidelines for health care-associated infections had been established, they did not take into account all World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, which were not being implemented. As a result of this shortcoming, Mali scored just 2 out of 5 in the joint external evaluation conducted by WHO in 2017 on IPC, indicating a high risk of AMR and spreading infections.

To address this problem, the USAID-funded Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) Program supported the National Multisectoral AMR Coordination Group, through the General Directorate of Public Health and Hygiene (DGSHP), in mitigating this risk in Mali.

Participant demonstrating wearing and removing personal protective equipment. Photo credit: Famory Samassa, Senior Technical Advisor, MTaPS Program

In partnership with international financial partners, including WHO, UNICEF, and Intrahealth, MTaPS first helped the coordination group develop a series of documents that were both theoretical (by revising national IPC guidelines) and practical (by developing elements to put knowledge into action), with a facilitator’s guide, a participant’s manual, and work tools, grouped together in a toolkit. This toolkit has also been adapted for use in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and is one of the reference documents for IPC/COVID-19 training in the country.

The toolkit is the first of its kind in Mali that provides harmonized, quality tools to share throughout the country and that facilitates skills transfer within health care facilities to build the capacity of health professionals and students.

Once the document was approved by Malian authorities, MTaPS trained 30 people (27 men and 3 women) at the national level to implement the national IPC guidelines, as well as 89 health care providers from 30 health districts, 2 hospitals, and 11 private clinics in Kayes, Sikasso, and Koulikoro. All participants appreciated the program’s efforts and the benefits derived for their daily work.

Dr Najim Oura Diallo, Regional Director of Health for Koulikoro and a participant in this training, indicated, “This IPC COVID-19 training is of great importance . . . as it will help to improve the quality of care and break the chain of infection transmission . . . in the community.”

For Ms. Mariam Coulibaly, Senior Hygiene Technician, what most impressed her were “the discussions on washing and disinfecting hearses and ambulances, as well as cleaning and sterilizing surgical materials. I will ensure that hygiene measures are enforced at the hospital level and will also make improvements and share the general overview of the workshop with the head physician.”