Background: Improved infection prevention and control (IPC) reduces healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Following the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa (2014–2016), Sierra Leone made substantial investments in strengthening IPC in health facilities. The WHO identified 8 core components of IPC and developed an accompanying assessment framework (IPCAF) to monitor IPC capacity and progress. The IPCAF reflects the 8 WHO core components of IPC. The core component constitute a consistent universal outline that supports guidance to healthcare decision makers and service providers at national and international levels. We conducted an in-depth assessment of IPC practices in Sierra Leone using the IPCAF tool. Methods: This assessment was conducted in in July 2019 over a 2-week period. Data were collected through interview with IPC focal persons as well as observations and corroboration of document and immediate feedback on findings given to facilities through brief exit meetings. All areas of the facility were assessed (ie, all wards, operation theatres, laboratories maternity units, sterile service departments, waste management units, etc). The main objective was to identify the gaps and challenges faced by health facilities. Each component was scored based on the responses and observations, with the scores ranging from zero to 100 and the maximum score was 800. The IPCAF allocated hospitals to 4 different “IPC levels”: inadequate, basic, intermediate, and advanced. Results: Moreover, 13 hospitals were assessed, including 12 primary level hospitals and 1 secondary level hospital. The median score was 367. 5 (IQR, 110), which corresponds to a basic level of IPC. Primary-level hospitals scored higher (median, 373; IQR, 112.5) compared to secondary-level hospitals (median, 280; IQR, 0). The lowest score was in healthcare-associated infection surveillance (median, 0; IQR, 5), and the highest score was in the built environment, availability of materials, and equipment to support IPC (median, 62.5; IQR, 22.5). Conclusions: The assessment provides a baseline of the status of IPC in Sierra Leone in the post-EVD period using the IPCAF tool. These results can be used to guide healthcare facilities and policy makers in developing strategies for IPC quality improvement projects to improve low-performing healthcare facilities. Significant gaps were observed in key IPC areas, especially in secondary-level health facilities. There is need to establish national surveillance for healthcare-associated infections, to institutionalize monitoring of IPC practices, and to ensure an appropriate staffing–workload ratio in health facilities.
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