Success Story #1: An innovative trainer

Judah Bailey is an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Officer in Region 10. In November 2011 he participated in a two-day Training of Trainers conducted by the USAID Guyana Safe Injection Project (GSIP). The training covered both principles of injection safety (including safe injection use and waste management) as well as adult education and training techniques. The training was designed to produce master trainers who commit to conducting periodic injection safety training sessions for health care providers (nurses, medex, and others) and waste handlers at health facilities in their regions.

Following the training, Mr. Bailey went back to Region 10, where he works at the Linden Hospital Complex. In addition to preparing to conduct training for his colleagues there, he reviewed waste management practices throughout the facility and found several problems. He decided that the best way to approach the problem was through documentation, so he took his personal camera with him as he went about his daily activities and took pictures of examples of poor waste problems when he saw them.

Before: Waste piling up, infectious waste in red bags exposed.

After: waste is properly contained and regularly collected.

Mr. Bailey had been asked to make a presentation at the January monthly meeting of the hospital’s senior administrative and clinical staff. In the presentation, he used the photos he had taken to show examples of poor waste management practices. Although he did not label his photos, the meeting attendees were of course able to identify their units.

Further, when Mr. Bailey was conducting the injection safety training for Linden Hospital staff, he replaced the sample pictures in GSIP’s standard presentations with the pictures he had taken throughout Linden Hospital. The training participants, like the senior staff, immediately recognized their work stations and identified the waste management problems.

With Mr. Bailey’s guidance and support, staff at Linden Hospital have taken responsibility for making changes in their waste handling practices. A few weeks ago he went back and revisited the places where he initially found problems and took new pictures; significant improvements are clearly visible.

Mr. Bailey’s innovation was to relate everything included in the standard injection safety training to the local setting. By showing problems in places that hospital staff were familiar with, he was able to help his co-workers – from waste handlers to the CEO – immediately understand. And by providing guidance and assistance, he has assisted them all to change their behaviors, as well as their expectations.

Before: Sharps box insecurely stored

After: No sharps box lying around

 

Nowadays, Mr. Bailey reports, when he walks around the hospital, staff scurry in front of him to ensure that they are in compliance with best practices.

Before: Over-filled and unsealed safety boxes left on the floor.

After: The area is clear.

 

 

 

Success Story #2: A dedicated waste handler

Archie has been a porter, waste handler and general handyman at the Fort Wellington and Mahaicony Regional Hospitals in Region 5 for over 15 years. In 2009, a contractor was hired to construct new incinerators at both facilities. Archie observed the process carefully and paid close attention to the operating instructions provided by the contractor.

   Archie and a co-worker demonstrating the incinerator to visitor

Archie and the other porters began using the incinerator to burn safety boxes filled with sharps. He soon realized that although it was recommended to burn one box every 15 minutes, many porters found it easier to stuff five or six boxes in and then leave the incinerator to burn slowly. This creates problems as the temperature does not get hot enough to completely destroy needles. It also results in excessive build-up of soot in the chimney, which impedes functioning, and can eventually create cracks in the incinerator.

During GSIP staff visits for trainings and facility monitoring, Archie discussed the problems he was observing. They confirmed his analysis of the problems. Archie then took the problems to the Regional Health Officer…along with a possible solution. Because he is a skilled handyman, he suggested that if the hospitals could purchase the proper cement and other materials, he would do the maintenance work as part of his regular duties, saving the region the cost of re-hiring the contractor. Further, he continually supervises and trains the other porters using the incinerators to ensure that they do not overfill or otherwise misuse them.

Thanks to Archie and his co-workers’ commitment to the facilities and attention to details, both incinerators have remained completely functional for the past three years. (This is not the case with other incinerators constructed around the same time.) Further, Fort Wellington Hospital has agreed to host the upcoming GSIP Incinerator Operator Training so that their best practices can be highlighted. Archie will, of course, be one of the stars of that show.