Evolution of infection control in Egypt: Achievements and challenges

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Abstract

Background

The high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Egypt highlighted the urgent need for implementing infection control (IC) programs in Egypt.

Objectives

The Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP), in collaboration with the US Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, and the World Health Organization (WHO), developed a national plan to initiate an IC program with the objectives of improving quality of care and reducing transmission of hospital-acquired infections.

Methods

The strategic plan for this program included setting up an organizational structure, developing IC national guidelines, training health care workers, promoting occupational safety, and establishing a system for monitoring and evaluation. Implementation of the program started in late 2001.

Results

The achievements to date include developing a national organizational structure, IC guidelines, and a comprehensive IC training program. To date, a total of 72 hospitals in 13 governorates have been enrolled in the program, and 235 IC professionals have been trained.

Conclusions

Many challenges were faced, including administrative, financial, and motivational difficulties. Future plans include expansion of the program to cover all 27 governorates of Egypt and establishment of a surveillance system for hospital-acquired infections. The process of developing the IC program in Egypt may serve as a model for other resource-limited countries that seek to initiate similar programs.

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