WHO is monitoring infection safety standards in Ukrainian hospitals and providing new equipment and educational materials, as well as training hospital staff. During the pandemic, infection control was prioritized at all stages of equipment reprocessing, which includes disinfection, cleaning, remanufacturing, testing, packaging, labeling, and sterilizing of reusable medical devices.
With an estimated 156 000 cases per year, surgical site infections are the most common kind of health-care-associated infections (HAIs) in Ukraine. Infections have an impact on treatment outcomes and lengthen a patient’s stay in the hospital. According to a poll conducted by WHO and the Public Health Centre of Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, enhancing medical device reprocessing is one of the top priorities for preventing surgical site infections and other HAIs.
Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Ukraine, notes that such efforts are critical for boosting the level of infection control on the ground, in line with the WHO and EU initiative on health system reform in Ukraine.
Olena Shymulo has been the head of the Central Sterilization Department of the Odessa municipal hospital since 1983. (CSD). When it was refurbished and fitted out with contemporary technology over 10 years ago, the hospital was the first in the southern region of Ukraine to be ranked as a Clean Hospital. It now, however, necessitates a complete overhaul.
She believes that the best approach to improve infection prevention and control standards in Ukraine is to establish a CSD in every hospital. However, a CSD is not available in every hospital. Reprocessing takes place in each department of the Mykolaiv Regional Hospital, for example. The necessity of reprocessing is recognized by Dmytro Bachynskyi, a surgeon at the institution. If it was centralized here, it would be much easier to monitor the process and ensure the highest standards,” he says.
Another big concern, according to Dr. Shymulo, is the absence of professional preparation among reprocessing nurses. The bulk of CSD employees are assistant nurses, and their understanding of the reprocessing cycle is frequently lacking. Reprocessing is done by sterilization technicians in other European countries, however, there is no such profession in Ukraine.
WHO has held a series of webinars and training events for hospital professionals around the nation, established a reprocessing school, and translated all relevant WHO recommendations into Ukrainian to address this need for knowledge.