Contributor: Hebah Ibrahim Hasan al Zamel, MSN RN CIC /Infection Control Coordinator, King Abdullah University Hospital, Jordan
On the occasion of International Infection, Prevention and Control Week and the International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control held in Geneva, Switzerland, 14-17 September, we bring you the story of a nurse and Infection Control Coordinator from Jordan.
Hebah al Zamel is a nurse and Infection Control Coordinator at King Abdallah University Hospital (KAUH) in Jordan. KAUH is a teaching nonprofit hospital which provides clinical and referral health care services to other health care sectors in Jordan and provides training, educational and research opportunities for students and health care professionals.
As Infection Control Coordinator, Hebah is responsible for educating staff about Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and acts as the hospital liaison to the Department of Public Health. The IPC services improve the quality of health care and contribute to preventing the spread of infection, reducing the length of the patient’s stay in the hospital, and protecting workers in the health sector.
When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Jordan, KAUH was the only hospital in the north of the kingdom, designated to receive patients at the start of the pandemic. Hebah faced many challenges including, protecting health personnel and patients and their families; lack of resources; and continuing education for employees. Her greatest achievement was in preparing a plan to deal with COVID-19 cases for the hospital with high professionalism.
Hebah contributed to preparing a guide for the Jordanian Ministry of Health on controlling infection in dealing with COVID-19 cases. A vaccination centre was also opened in the hospital under her supervision. She formed a local partnership with the Jordanian Ministry of Health for training and supervision in northern hospitals to strengthen capabilities in educating healthcare providers, increasing productivity, and spreading knowledge at the local level.
“Success in managing this crisis was due to the support from upper management partnering and working with us as one team,” says Hebah. “Love of work and commitment to succeeding helped us persevere.”
Providing personal protection for workers was important, along with attention to the mental health of nurses and doctors. Continuous communication between senior management and health workers was key, and remembering that nursing is a humanitarian profession was paramount. Hebah said: “I became more confident in myself and in providing advice on to all levels and groups. An important motivation was that knowledge is a light, and to be a leader you must be educated.”