Close enough isn’t good enough when it comes to sterilizing surgical instruments. SPECT's training program involves context specific classes on the fundamentals of sterile processing that consider local conditions and available resources.
Prior to SPECT's in-person training, an environmental survey of the sterile processing areas in local healthcare facilities are completed by SPECT personnel. Recommendations based on the findings are provided to leadership and staff of the facility.
Following SPECT's training program, participants are supported in their work settings by visits from SPECT personnel. These visits include meetings with facility leadership to discuss and elicit support for planned changes and address potential barriers to implementation.
Barriers to effective sterile processing include a lack of knowledge related to products and equipment needed to clean and sterilize instruments. SPECT explores options for acquiring these resources in-country and provides this information to local facilities. Supplies donated to SPECT are given to trainers for use in their training of others.
Fostering partnerships is key to the success of SPECT's work, as we endeavour to ensure all patients, regardless of where they live, have access to safe surgery. This is a global fight, and we make a bigger impact when we work together.
We’ve seen the less-than-ideal conditions that many resource-constrained healthcare facilities face. The participants' motivation to improve conditions has inspired us to increase awareness of sterile processing challenges by conducting research and publishing findings on the impact of our training programs.
In 2019, a mixed-methods study was conducted with two cohorts in Cambodia, involving a total of eight healthcare facilities and 43 healthcare workers. Quantitative data were collected using a sterile processing assessment tool and a multiple-choice test pre- and post-training. Qualitative data in the form of interviews were obtained several months post-training.
An integrative review of research literature on sterile processing in low- and middle-income countries published between 2010-2020. The aim of this paper is to appraise and synthesize available evidence on sterile processing in low- and middle-income countries.
A mixed-methods research study was initiated in the Lake Zone areas of Northwestern Tanzania in the summer of 2018. The goal was to identify the impact of education and training on sterile processing practices at ten hospitals. Data on sterile processing practices prior to, during and after training and mentorship showed that improvement in test scores was directly related to sterile processing training. The greatest sterile processing practice changes identified through hospital assessments involved how instruments were cleaned, both at point of use and during the cleaning process, with rusted and discoloured instruments appearing as new again. Themes identified in participant interviews included: changes in practice, challenges in implementing practice changes, resource constraints, personal and professional growth, and increased motivation, confidence and responsibility.