Home > Soapbox Updates > Soapbox Pilot of the Environmental Hygiene Training Manual: Part 3

Training the Orderlies

Following the training of the trainers, the next stage of the pilot was to train staff involved in cleaning and infection prevention – orderlies, laundresses, and health labourers from within the participating facilities. Given that these staff had received no prior formal training in infection prevention or cleaning, being involved in training of this sort was a very new concept to them.

Soapbox was there to witness the delivery of training to the first focus facility – Serrekunda Major Health Centre. Again, the format of the training was interactive and participatory, using very practical ways of demonstrating concepts such as the spread of invisible germs. The three day workshop covered the following areas: introduction to infection prevention, personal protective equipment (PPE), hand hygiene, personal hygiene, waste disposal, linen management and environmental cleaning. Case studies, photographs, cleaning resources and PPE were used to encourage discussion which was lively and animated throughout the training.

Feedback from the trainers and training participants themselves was overwhelmingly positive. Many reported that before the training they were not aware that their practices were potentially causing harm, with this new understanding immediate changes were seen within the facility and the trained participants were proud to report on their new, safe practices.

One of the trainers summarised the impact of the training:

“… oh it is very interesting because when we talk to [the training participants], they say “Oh, them things that we are doing we think we are doing good, oh actually we are doing bad”… to be frank enough, [the training participants] surprised me because I don’t know that they are so much talented… But the time I stood in front of them to teach them, the ideas they bring out and their understanding level is very fast… They can even teach [us], so this is it. We are very happy.”

The training at the remaining three facilities concluded last week. An official evaluation of the pilot is underway which will feed in to the next iteration of the training package for application to other country contexts where formal training of cleaning staff is desperately needed.