Speakers: Dr Holly Seale, Senior Lecturer and Dr Abrar Chughtai, PhD student at the School of Public Health & Community Medicine, UNSW
To maintain the functionality and capacity of the health workforce during outbreaks of emerging infections, such as pandemic influenza, hospital health care workers (HCWs) need to be protected. The spread of an unknown respiratory pathogen or pandemic influenza virus in health care settings can be minimized by consistently using best practices in infection prevention and control for respiratory infections. However, during the initial stages supplies of vaccines and antiviral medications are likely to be delayed or inadequate to treat a very large number of affected individuals. Therefore, non-pharmacological interventions, including the use of respirators and/or surgical masks, will be a key strategy for infection control. This presentation will report on the current practices, barriers and facilitators around mask/respirator use in the hospital setting that have been identified through a series of studies conducted in Australia, China and Vietnam. We will also report the findings from a recent SPHCM PhD study, which examined the policies and guidelines around the use of masks and respirators for hospital healthcare workers, as well as gaps in the recommendations.
Dr Holly Seale is a Senior Lecturer at SPHCM. She has conducted clinical, behavioural and data-based research regarding infectious diseases and infection control. Recently, her work has focused on healthcare professional’s perceptions and behaviours regarding infectious diseases, particularly VPDs and examining new strategies for infection control using pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures.
Dr Abrar Chughtai is an overseas trained medical graduate, with a Diploma in Public Health. He completed his Master in Public Health in Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Control from the University of New South Wales in 2009. He is currently enrolled in a PhD at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.