The National Infection Prevention and Control Unit (NIPCU) at the Ministry Of Health and Sanitation in collaboration with CDC and WHO has embarked on the production of the first-ever local alcohol-based hand rub.
The first-ever alcohol hand sanitizer in Sierra Leone was launched and introduced at the 34 Military Hospital at Wilberforce in Freetown.
The product will play an essential role in preventing the spread of pathogens and antibiotic resistance in the health sector and healthcare settings in the country.
“Clean hands are the single most important factor in preventing the spread of pathogens and antibiotics resistance in the health care setting. Hand hygiene reduces the incidence of healthcare-associated infections. Science has shown that improving hand hygiene practices will promote patient safety and prevent infections. Worldwide, adherence of healthcare workers to recommended hand hygiene procedures has poor (overall adherence rate globally average at about 40%.),” said Hassan Benya IPC and Workforce Development specialist for US CDC.
During the unprecedented Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone in 2014, more than 400 health care workers perished from the disease while providing life-saving assistance to infected patients. Massive campaigns on hand washing and sanitization were intensified due to the delicate nature of the virus and for hygiene practices. Introducing a homemade alcohol-based hand rub for the first time in the country will be a great step in our health sector.
Speaking at the occasion the Deputy Minister of Defense emphasized the importance of health on President Bio’s manifesto. He informed the gathering that President Bio’s Administration is committed to the development of health care in the country and particularly the development of the 34 military hospitals.
“The reasons for adding credence to this occasion is the manifesto of this country which is put together by no other person but the President Dr Julius Maada Bio after free quality education, we jumped onto developing health care in this country, and then I went forward to talk to my colleague yesterday that the military is just a microcosm of the civil society. What I meant by that is developing 34 is like developing this country,” the Deputy Minister said.
Dr Jambai the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation thanked the stewardship and leadership of the 34 Hospital and informed that the Ministry has thought it fit to roll out the alcohol-based hand sanitizers to the general populace of Sierra Leone. He praised the drive of the hospital in getting results of such nature.
“We want to say such a youthful drive in terms of getting results is what this country needs, it is what all of us need, there will come a time you will need to let go and the youths will take over and push this country where it should be.”
He further praised the country for working with its military, as he stated that Sierra Leone is showing the world exemplary leadership in working with the military. He stressed on the need to prevent infections on the various hospitals, so as to alleviate health centres of becoming death traps for health workers.
Dr Jambai appealed to Sierra Leoneans to start thinking now in turning this ( the alcohol-based hand rub) into a business and start making money out of this in other to take this venture to the next level, which will enable its exportation to Guinea, Liberia and other parts of Africa and the world. He admonished health workers to infuse the habit of sanitizing their hands before and after treating patients, as many infections are acquired through the hands. He ended by encouraging all Sierra Leoneans to work together to develop the health sector.