Health care associated infections (HCAIs) or hospital-acquired infections are a worldwide problem. HCAIs represent infections acquired during or associated with deliver of care in contrast to infections present or incubating at the time of the care delivery episode. HCAIs are a continuing problem in intensive care units, a serious source of morbidity, excess health care cost, and among the most leading causes of death. HCAIs may also impair the quality of life of the patient even after treatment. HCAIs are such a severe problem that World Health Organization (WHO) made it a priority in 2002. Therefore, infection control and prevention is fundamental to improving care and ensuring safety.

The principles of infection prevention and control are the same throughout the world. In countries with well-developed health care systems, considerable time was spent in the developing guidelines and training of specialists in infection control. However, infection control does not required expensive equipment or supplies and can be implemented with minimal cost. It is just as feasible to institute appropriate infection control practices in low-resource settings as in high-resource settings because it is based on common sense, sound knowledge of procedures and safe practice.

The WHO estimated that developing countries have as much as a 20 times higher risk of HCAIs than developed countries. In 2004, WHO led World Alliance for Patient Safety first launch a worldwide campaign on patient safety focusing on simple means like hand hygiene to combat HCAIs, with the core message “simple measures save lives”. Vietnam as in many developing countries, HCAIs are a devastating problem that impacts many vulnerable groups. Increasing attention is being paid to infection control in Vietnam but the situation remains far from optimal. To drive necessary changes in delivering sustainable improvement in clinical care requires strategic approach and clinical leadership. Project Vietnam Foundation (PVNF) mission is to help implementing and strengthening the Infection Prevention and Control program in Vietnam, especially at remote areas where resources are limited. PVNF Infection Control Program has been an ongoing project at multiple hospital sites in Vietnam such as Rach Gia, Vinh, Vinh Phuc, etc. The important aspects of the PVNF Infection Control Program are to provide technical assistance and support with the following activities:

Assessment of the current infection control program
Identify infection risks specific to specific community, services, programs and location
Formulating an infection control plan
Revising and updating Infection Prevention and Control guideline
Surveillance for infections in patients and personnel
Education for infection prevention
Consultation in infection prevention
Antibiotic utilization
Outbreak Investigations
Communicable Disease Reporting
Regulatory Compliance

By volunteering in PVNF Infection Control Program, we are looking forward to work with you to help establish a cost effective Infection Control program in Vietnam, which is an essential component of efforts to improve the quality of health care. With the right leadership and resourcing, change can occur and lives will be saved!