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2022 International Infection Prevention Week: 50 Years of Infection Prevention

4th December 2022 – COVID-19 continues to show the world what we’ve always known as Infection Preventionists (IPs), who are experts who ensure that healthcare personnel and healthcare institutions are doing everything they should to prevent diseases from spreading, are continuing to demonstrate to the world what we have always known about them. They are essential to maintaining the safety and well-being of our communities. Infection control specialists come from a range of backgrounds, many of them have degrees in nursing, epidemiology, public health, microbiology, lab technology, or medicine. The infection prevention and control community are defending us against a worldwide pandemic, as well as increases in healthcare-associated infections, measles outbreaks, flu, and a host of other ongoing infectious conflicts. 

Since its establishment in 1986, International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) has worked to raise awareness of infection prevention. The theme for this year is “The Future is Infection Prevention: 50 Years of Infection Prevention,” which aimed to inspire the following generation of Infection Preventions (IPs) to take up the cause by highlighting the decades of infection prevention over APIC’s (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology) of 50 years history. 

In accordance with the “50 Years of Infection Prevention” theme, infection preventionists have discovered techniques to prevent and break the transmission of infections. The sole solution is to break this chain at any point. Breaking the chain involves frequently cleaning your hands, being vaccinated (including a flu shot), wear facemask when you have flu symptoms, staying home when you’re sick, using personal protective equipment properly, maintaining a clean environment, sterilizing medical equipment, using safe injection techniques, and carefully utilizing medications to prevent antibiotic resistance. 

Celebrating International Infection Prevention Week, Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) held a series of symposiums and workshops for healthcare professionals in the country over the weekend. According to Chairperson of International Infection Prevention Week and in his capacity as Medical Director of JPMC, Dr. Meera Sahib Kabeer, “It is an opportunity for infection control experts to raise awareness of their crucial work among the community and among personnel about the importance of infection prevention.”  

Over 150 members of healthcare professionals gathered for the inaugural event held at Indera Kayangan Ballroom, The Empire Brunei on 3rd December’22 evening. Associate Professor Ling Moi Lin, Director of Infection Prevention, Epidemiology at Singapore General Hospital, and Dr. Leong Hoe Nam, Medical Director, Consultant Disease Physician at Mount Novena Specialist Centre, Singapore, were among the International experts invited to the symposium and to facilitate workshops on 3rd and 4th December respectively. 

A Doa recital was led by Ustaz Ishkandar bin Haji Buntar, Religious Officer, followed by opening remarks by Dr Meera Sahib Kabeer, Medical Director and Chairperson of Infection Control Committee of JPMC. “The practice of infection prevention and control has always been critical in protecting the health care system. It has been more than 10 years to accomplished greater heights and have expanded JPMC and including Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC). Therefore, it is an opportunity to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to both JPMC and PJSC infection control team to maintain its centers COVID 19 free centers and to thank the Ministry of Health for the kind support during the pandemic and Endemic phase”. 

Our Guest of Honour, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, Minister of Health stated “With an estimated 4.95 million deaths globally associated with Antimicrobial Resistance Committee (AMR) in 2019, it is come to our attention that it need for us to come together and respond. It is hope that all departments and disciplines including doctors, nurses, allied health care workers and administrators to work together to develop effective monitoring systems and protocols for infection prevention and control.  It is noteworthy that JPMC has itself developed a robust infection control program, surveillance protocols, diagnostic testing capability and quality improvement. Armed with this capacity, and with strategic guidance from the MOH, it is hopeful that we continue to enhance our preparedness for surges in both Healthcare associated Infections (HAI) and emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19. 

“It is an honor to partake in the celebration of the International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) which aims to shine a light on the Infection Prevention profession and on this extra special year we celebrate 50 years of IIPW. In conjunction with this momentous date, it is an excellent opportunity for us to reflect on our progress, consider challenges and plan together our Infection Prevention and Control measures in order to deliver safe, effective care where good quality patient outcomes are our primary focus”. 

The event was followed with token of appreciation to the invited speakers, Associate Professor Ling Moi Lin and Dr Leong Hoe Nam and to event sponsor Merk Sharp & Dohme (MSD). With the Celebration 50 Years of Infection Prevention, JPMC held a digital poster competition campaign of two categories for employees, Hand Hygiene and Cough Etiquette. Winners were awarded cash prizes at the event presented by our Guest of Honour. The event proceeded with plenary sessions from the invited speakers and dinner to end the event. 

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