Dr. Edward Kelley, Director, Service Delivery and Safety, at the World Health Organization held a 40 minute press conference in Geneva today to preview some upcoming changes to the WHO’s recommendations for HCWs Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) when dealing with Ebola.
With well over 500 healthcare workers already infected (albeit, not all while working with patients), finding practical ways to protect those working (often in resource limited places) with Ebola patients becomes a major priority.
While stressing that PPEs are only part of a layered IPC (Infection Protection Control) system, Dr. Kelley cited several areas of PPE safety. The new guidance (which should be posted later today on the WHO website) also stresses training in the donning and doffing of PPEs.
- Protection of the mucosa of the eyes, nose and mouth – with an emphasis on masks that do not lie flat against the face, which tend to get moist and deteriorate in high heat environments.
- Hand Hygiene including strongly recommending double gloving.
- New guidance on the use of gowns and coveralls
- Guidance on footwear
- Guidance on head covers
Many of these recommendations are clarifications, or incremental changes, but some are clearly more stringent – such as the recommendation for double gloving (nitrile), the need for masks that are structured to lie away from the face, and recommendations (where appropriate) to provide cover for the head and neck.
I’ll update this blog post with the links to the new guidance documents when they become available.
Note: The PDF File is now online, click the image below:
You can watch the press conference by clicking this link, or the image below: