Journal Article
Observations of infection prevention and control practices in primary health care, Kenya

Objective

To assess compliance with infection prevention and control practices in primary health care in Kenya.

Methods

We used an observational, patient-tracking tool to assess compliance with infection prevention and control practices by 1680 health-care workers during outpatient interactions with 14 328 patients at 935 health-care facilities in 2015. Compliance was assessed in five domains: hand hygiene; protective glove use; injections and blood sampling; disinfection of reusable equipment; and waste segregation. We calculated compliance by dividing the number of correct actions performed by the number of indications and evaluated associations between compliance and the health-care worker’s and facility’s characteristics.

Findings

Across 106 464 observed indications for an infection prevention and control practice, the mean compliance was 0.318 (95% confidence interval, CI: 0.315 to 0.321). The compliance ranged from 0.023 (95% CI: 0.021 to 0.024) for hand hygiene to 0.871 (95% CI: 0.866 to 0.876) for injection and blood sampling safety. Compliance was weakly associated with the facility’s characteristics (e.g. public or private, or level of specialization) and the health-care worker’s knowledge of, and training in, infection prevention and control practices.

Conclusion

The observational tool was effective for assessing compliance with infection prevention and control practices across multiple domains in primary health care in a low-income country. Compliance varied widely across infection prevention and control domains. The weak associations observed between compliance and the characteristics of health-care workers and facilities, such as knowledge and the availability of supplies, suggest that a broader focus on behavioural change is required.

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