Solutions to infection prevention and control challenges in developing countries, do they exist?

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


by Vanessa Sparke, PhD candidate and Lecturer – Nursing and Midwifery, JCU

As colleagues at Atoifi Hospital and other hospitals in Solomon Islands know, applying Western-based infection prevention and control (IP&C) programs and practices to health facilities with limited resources is difficult. A group of us from Solomon Islands and Australia conducted a literature review to find out what is known about IP&C in contexts like Atoifi Hospital, and to search for possible solutions.

Around the world IP&C is important for patient safety and quality of care however due to a higher burden of disease, a lack of physical and financial resources, geographical isolation, extremes of climate, and differing cultural and spiritual beliefs, the number of healthcare associated infections in hospitals in developing countries is much higher than that of Western nations.

The literature review aimed to look for solutions to this challenge, and while limited success has been documented for some IP&C core program components, there appears to be very little research on the problem overall. The review found that education of health care workers, strong governance and leadership, adopting a systematic approach, participation of patients and taking into account their culture and needs, or a combination of all these have had the most success.

What hasn’t been well-researched is the influence that health care worker knowledge and beliefs have on their understanding and subsequent practices of IP&C. The review found that this gap in the literature is an opportunity for further research.

The integrative review was authored by Vanessa L Sparke, Jason Diau, David MacLaren and Caryn West, and can be found at:

For more information about this review or IP&C research being facilitated at Atoifi Hospital, please email: Dr Jason Diau or Ms Vanessa Sparke

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