A qualitative study of infection prevention and control practices in the maternal units of two Ghanaian hospitals

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Introduction: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) remain a common challenge in healthcare delivery, with a significant burden in low- and middle-income countries. Preventing HAIs has gained enormous attention from policy makers and healthcare managers and providers, especially in resource-limited settings. Despite policies to enforce infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to prevent HAIs, IPC compliance remains a challenge in hospital settings. In this study, we explore the experiences of healthcare providers and women in the post-natal phase and investigate factors influencing IPC practices in two hospitals in Ghana. Methods: The study used a qualitative approach involving semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, and observations among healthcare providers and women in the postnatal phase in two maternity units from January 2019 to June 2019. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim for thematic analysis. The data sets were uploaded into the qualitative software NVivo 12 to facilitate coding and analysis. Findings: Healthcare providers were driven by the responsibility to provide medical care for their patients and at the same time, protect themselves from infections. IPC facilitators include leadership commitment and support, IPC training and education. Women were informed about IPC in educational talks during antenatal care visits, and their practices were also shaped by their background and their communities. IPC barriers include the poor documentation or ‘invisibility’ of HAIs, low prioritization of IPC tasks, lack of clear IPC goals and resources, discretionary use of guidelines, and communication-related challenges. The findings demonstrate the need for relevant power holders to position themselves as key drivers of IPC and develop clear goals for IPC. Hospital managers need to take up the responsibility of providing the needed resources and leadership support to facilitate IPC. Patient engagement should be more strategic both within the hospital and at the community level.

TidsskriftAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by Royal Library, Copenhagen University Library. Financial support for this study was provided by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the HAI-Ghana project (Grant no. 16-PO1-GHA). The HAI-Ghana project has the objective of reducing morbidity, mortality and cost related to HAIs. It is an international multicenter and interdisciplinary research network that brings together Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows supervised by a Ghanaian and Danish team of experts in various fields of academia.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

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