Human error can endanger even the most experienced health care workers in the fight against Ebola. Health-care workers should always take standard precautions when caring for patients, regardless of their presumed diagnosis. These include basic hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and use of personal protective equipment(PPE).
Given the amount of PPE required for one worker. The equipment levels can scale quickly in a response scenario and require proper management to ensure a safe response.
Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission from direct or close contact with people displaying Ebola symptoms requires each healthcare worker to properly apply a large amount of the appropriate PPE. Listed below is the PPE that has been recommended by WHO for one individual healthcare worker;
The cap forms part of a protective hood covering the head. It offers healthcare workers an added layer of protection, ensuring that they cannot touch any part of their face whilst treating a patient.
Covers the mouth to protect from sprays of body fluids from patients. When wearing a respirator, the medical worker must tear this outer mask to allow the respirator through.
A respirator is worn to protect the wearer from a patient's coughs.
Goggles, or eye visors, are used to provide cover to the eyes, protecting them from splashes. The goggles should ideally be sprayed with an anti-fogging solution before being worn.
The overalls are placed on top of the scrubs. These suits are similar to hazardous material (hazmat) suits worn in toxic environments. The team member supervising the process should inspect that the equipment is not damaged.
A surgical scrub suit; durable hospital clothing that absorbs liquid and is easily cleaned, is worn as a base layer underneath the overalls. It should be tucked into rubber boots to ensure no skin is exposed.
A waterproof apron is placed on top of the overalls as the final layer of protective clothing.
A minimum two sets of gloves are required, covering the suit cuff. When putting on the gloves, care must be taken to ensure that no skin is exposed and that they are worn in such a way that any fluid on the sleeve will run off the suit and glove.
Ebola health workers typically wear rubber boots, with the scrubs tucked into the footwear. If boots are unavailable, workers should wear closed, puncture and fluid-resistant shoes.
Any faults with PPE can also be one of the easiest ways to catch Ebola. This why it's essential to track, inspect and account for equipment appropriately.
In [D4H] Technologies we have worked closely with Hazmat emergency responders in managing the intricate details involved in maintaining equipment they use, to safely deal with hazardous materials emergency response. We have taken this extensive knowledge and applied it to our Ebola Software Solution for maintaining your PPE.
Disclaimer: [D4H] Technologies Ltd provide software to help manage equipment, training, and personnel involved in a response. This in no way implies that [D4H] Technologies or I, endorse or are otherwise in a position to validate World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations..