Ruth Stringer, Health Care Without Harm – Global Science and Policy Coordinator, and Susan Wilburn, GGHH’s Sustainability Director, participated in the 6th International Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN) Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa. During September 25th and 26th, Ruth Stringer presented the options for African health care systems to improve Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and spoke about the marriage of waste management and IPC for patient and worker safety.

“Some technologies and materials used in infection control can harm the environment, which in turn can harm our health. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest per capita rate of environmentally related deaths. To prevent inadvertent harm, we are presenting information about how African healthcare systems can access infection control tools to reduce disease without having an impact on the environment”, explains Ruth Stringer.

The event featured international experts discussing global matters such as antimicrobial resistance and stewardship, Ebola, and water borne diseases. This allows countries that are in the process of establishing national IPC programs the opportunity to share their experiences with colleagues across the continent. The conference also addressed IPC education, mother and child infections, disinfection and sterilization (a major concern in Africa), environmental cleaning, MERSCoV, tuberculosis and IPC. Drawing on the Ebola experience, the role of the community in containing outbreaks was discussed.

With over 290 members in 24 countries, ICAN has grown to become the voice of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in Africa. It promotes and facilitates the establishment of infection control programs, achievement and maintenance of infection reduction, including health care associate infections, and promotes antimicrobial stewardship activities through education, and by working with infection prevention structures in Africa and other international health related associations.

ICAN is the largest infection control organization in Africa and has gone from strength to strength in education, training and extensive networking across Africa.

Ruth Stringer

Ruth Stringer, Health Care Without Harm – Global Science and Policy Coordinator, at the 6th International ICAN Congress, September 2016. Source: Ruth Stringer