Occupational health

Training Courses in Occupational Health

EPINet: Using data for Prevention of Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

Susan Wilburn (wilburns@who.int), Intervention for Healthy Environments, WHO, Geneva

EPINet is an occupational surveillance tool for hospitals and health care settings to collect, analyze and use information about sharps injuries and other occupational exposures to blood. The tool was developed by Dr. Janine Jagger at the International Healthcare Workers Safety Center (IHWSC), a WHO Occupational Health Collaborating Centre, based at the University of Virginia, U.S.A. This surveillance programme is available in 21 languages and has been utilized in 83 countries, facilitating the identification of practices and devices that put healthcare workers at risk of exposures to contaminated blood and consequent infections. The target groups include health workers, hospitals, health and safety committees, and policy makers. EPINet is included in the WHO Protecting Health Workers -- Preventing Needlestick Injuries tool kit.

The workshop group at Cairo University Hospital library

In collaboration with WHO, U.S. NIOSH, Ministries of Health and WHO CCs in 4 regions, the Center has participated in in-country training conferences and also hosts fellowship training at the University of Virginia. The training programme includes data collection and entry, report generation and interpretation, intended to improve worker safety. IHWSC maintains ongoing support with trainees and encourages network building among users. EPINet training workshops have taken place from 2009-2011 in Saudi Arabia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Egypt, Croatia and Kuwait. Occupational Exposure Prevention Fellows from China and Russia were trained at the center. In 2012, training is scheduled to take place in Costa Rica (scheduled). In the past two years, four hundred (400) people have been trained in 28 countries. The trainees have been instrumental in establishing EPINet hospital networks within their regions. Peru and Colombia have adopted EPINet surveillance nationally.

Poster presentation at IAES Venezuela

Baseline surveys were conducted in several trainee hospitals, followed by interventions to reduce exposures. Survey findings and methodology were disseminated through presentations and publications by Collaborating Centre colleagues, fellows and trainees. Our colleagues have led efforts to develop national policies to protect healthcare workers from blood exposures.