Clean hands save lives: The Brighton-Lusaka Health Link

The Brighton-Lusaka Health Link helping to stop the spread of coronavirus

Brighton pharmacists are working alongside pharmacy colleagues in Lusaka, Zambia, to enhance infection prevention by sharing the skills and knowledge needed to make alcohol-based handrub funded by the Commonwealth Pharmacy Association (CPA) and Tropical Health Education Trust (THET).

(pictured right: Patrick Musabula and Mercy Mpuku Pharmacists at UTH)

Anja St. Clair Jones, Fiona Rees and Sam Lippett who all work in the Pharmacy department at BSUH and Dr Jasmin Islam, IPC registrar at BSUH, form part of the Brighton-Lusaka Health Link (BLHL) and were awarded a CwPAMS grant to develop Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka.

Established in 2014, the pharmacy partnership is a connection between pharmacists in Brighton’s hospitals and universities and their professional equivalents in Zambia to review common interests in pharmacy, review system gaps and develop educational tools.

By establishing an alcohol-based handrub production facility at UTH, the group are able to enhance infection prevention and control measures and help to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

Following on from this work, the group have received an additional THET grant to expand their work to the three remaining university hospitals in Zambia and have produced an education video with the CPA as a tool to share the knowledge across the Commonwealth. With COVID-19 starting to have an increasing impact in Africa, this is a very timely and important project helping to reduce the spread of infection and ultimately save lives. Kitwe Hospital was recently trained and last week produced 120 litres of WHO handrub for the use in the hospital.

(pictured right: Shona McQueen, BSUH Pharmacy Technician in the process of making the alcohol-based handrub)

Based on this experience, the BSUH pharmacy department is now working alongside pharmacists at the University of Brighton to produce the same handrub for use in BSUH hospitals too.

Ms Anja St. Clair Jones, Consultant Pharmacist for Gastroenterology at BSUH said:

“Volunteering for BLHL has made a great difference to my commitment, increased  confidence in my job and I really value what we have in the NHS. I was not really sure why I started the BLHL pharmacy partnership in 2014 but knew it would be beneficial for everyone involved.  I am so proud of what we have achieved but even more the friendships we have created and how much we learnt from each other using frugal inventions.”

Dr Derek Munkombwe , Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Zambia said:

“The Brighton Lusaka Health Link (BLHL) developed Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) and WHO hand-rub production facilities in three University Teaching Hospitals in Zambia for enhancing infection prevention and control (IPC) measures. Among many benefits, the BLHL enabled hospital pharmacy departments in Zambia to produce hand-rub for use by all health workers in hospitals. We can simply say that our volunteering in this partnership has been an incredibly rewarding experience.”