Keynote Speakers

Prof. Shaheen Mehtar

Decontamination of medical devices in low resource settings – challenges to IPC

Decontamination of medical devices play a significant role in reducing surgical site infections (SSI) and preventing transmission of blood borne viruses. In high income countries, sterility of medical devices is taken for granted. However, in low to middle income countries (LMICS) there is little investment, both financially and human resources, in sterile services resulting in twice to four times higher SSIs particularly in C sections across Africa. The contribution of poor decontamination service and operating theatre conditions, and challenges towards improving these services will be discussed.

Developing appropriate education platforms for IPC

Given that IPC is essentially clinical, developing engaging IPC education programmes requires both didactic and practical aspects. In Africa the geographical distances makes it difficult to conduct face to face courses. Therefore virtual learning platforms such as Teleclasses (WebberTraining), ECHO and ICAN­­ VL have been developed by ICAN to allow the students to see the tutors as well as the presentation on the screen. It allows the audience to actively participate with the tutor, ask questions and discuss matters. It is also extremely cost effective in that it cuts down travel and subsistence costs. However this type of platform requires electricity (power) and a stable internet connection which is now becoming more robust in most LMICs especially Africa.

Prof Shaheen Mehtar is an Emeritus Professor at the Unit for Infection Prevention and Control (UIPC),  Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. She trained in the United Kingdom in Medical Microbiology, and was Head of Microbiology at the North Middlesex Hospital & Senior Lecturer at Royal Free Hospital until 2000 when, she moved to South Africa.  In 2004 established the Unit of Infection Prevention and Control, Tygerberg Hospital & Stellenbosch Uni, and has trained more than 1000 students ranging from basic courses to a Masters in IPC across 34 countries in Africa.

She is an internationally recognised expert in IPC and has been instrumental in setting up IPC programmes globally. She served on the executive committees of HIS, BSAC, ESCMID, ISC and ISID. She serves on several WHO committees for global IPC policies.

Shaheen is a founder member, and Past Chair, of the Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN) through which she is involved in IPC, WASH and AMR training across Africa and setting up national IPC structures in 8 African countries. She was actively involved in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak. She has published extensively (170 papers), authored two books and several chapters.

Julie Storr RGN BNurse MBA

Authentic leadership and the future of IPC

This session will focus on leadership for effective IPC with a special exploration of authentic leadership theory and its relevance to the infection preventionist. To support our understanding of what makes an effective IPC leader, the session will explore relevant literature on leadership challenges and opportunities including how to build capacity and capability. The session will draw on current thinking that shaped recent WHO IPC and quality handbooks and training resources – resources that support those responsible for leading the development and implementation of national and health care facility IPC and quality activities, policies, strategies and operational plans. The session will conclude with some personal reflections on a leadership journey in the quest for high quality people-centered IPC.

Patient empowerment 1999-2019

The role of patient empowerment in the prevention and control of infection has been on the table for over twenty years and has been described as a critical element of hand hygiene promotion. It has also been the subject of much academic debate with many questioning its value and feasibility. 2019 marks the twentieth anniversary of my own personal journey into patient empowerment and this session will look back on what has been learned since 1999. I will argue that the concept is perhaps, to some extent, misunderstood and will put forward the case that, as part of a multimodal strategy it can add tremendous value to the quest for zero avoidable infections and enhanced health related quality of life for patients.

 Julie is a graduate nurse from the University of Manchester, where she also trained as a Health Visitor and more recently studied for an MBA. Julie is a director at S3 Global and has over a decade of experience working with WHO on the development, implementation and evaluation of global improvement programmes in the field of patient safety, quality and infection prevention and control, with a focus on behaviour change. Julie has worked with WHO units focused on Water Sanitation and Health (WASH), Quality Systems and Resilience and Global Infection Prevention and Control (IPC). Her technical and leadership expertise was called on to support WHO’s Ebola response and recovery efforts in 2014/15, with a focus on national IPC policy development in Sierra Leone. She has led on the development of evidence based WHO Guidelines (Core Components of Infection Prevention and Control Programmes at the National and Acute Health Care Facility Level, 2016) and implementation support packages (Core Components and CRO). She was previously President of the Infection Prevention Society of the UK and Ireland, Assistant Director at the English National Patient Safety Agency and Director of the seminal cleanyourhands campaign. Julie has authored a book (Perspectives and Perceptions of IPC – highly commended at the 2016 BMA Medical Book Awards), published widely in the academic literature and is currently writing a follow up book focused on IPC and the social sciences. She is peer reviewer of a range of academic journals. One of her recent papers on infection prevention and control and universal health coverage and quality was awarded research paper of the year in the Journal of Research in Nursing in 2017. She is currently studying for a doctorate in public health (health care leadership and management) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore.

Siouxsie Wiles – Microbiologist

Antimicrobial resistance: The end of modern medicine?

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine, used to treat infectious diseases and prevent infection in vulnerable patients. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) described how antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present in every region of the world, including Aotearoa New Zealand. Within a decade, antibiotic resistance will make routine surgery, organ transplantation and cancer treatment life-threatening. The WHO director general at the time, Margaret Chan, called the issue “…the end of modern medicine as we know it”. In her talk, Siouxsie will explain how this crisis came about and discuss the efforts she and her lab are making to find new antibiotics.

Prevention is better than cure – studying pathogen transmission in the lab

Despite its importance, transmission is missing from almost all experimental models used to investigate how bacteria cause disease in their mammalian hosts. Whereas we humans can be infected by eating contaminated food, say, laboratory animals are invariably infected by being injected with large doses of bacteria grown in rich laboratory media. In other words, the transmission step is missing in the experiment! We have recently pioneered a novel model to experimentally investigate the transmission of an infectious gut bacterium, with the ability to manipulate the bacterium, the host, and the environment. In her talk, Siouxsie will explain what their experiments are revealing about pathogen transmissibility.

Sponsored by 

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles studied medical microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, UK and then did a PhD in microbiology at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford. She spent several years working at Imperial College London where her research won the inaugural UK award for the humane use of animals in scientific research. In 2009, Siouxsie was awarded a Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and relocated to the University of Auckland, where she heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab. Siouxsie also has a keen interest in demystifying science for the public; she is a tweeter, blogger, podcaster, In 2017 she published her first book, ‘Antibiotic resistance: the end of modern medicine?’, and recently collaborated with her daughter to make a kid’s show about microbiology. Siouxsie has won numerous awards for her science communication efforts, including the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, and Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Callaghan Medal. She was one of three finalists for the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of Year award and this year was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication.