ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services (NHS) Dr Zafar Mirza on Wednesday said the upcoming three weeks will be tough for the country with regard to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

He said this while addressing an inauguration ceremony of the Centre for Occupational and Patient Safety (COPS) by National Institute of Health (NIH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

A statement issued by NIH said that the prime goal of COPS is to provide continuous strategic guidance, capacity building, research and validation at all levels to embrace, create, and implement tools of occupational safety.

The COPS will offer a range of programs to raise awareness and expedite implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve transformation in patient safety. The COPS will play an instrumental role to enhance patient experience, reduce risks and harm and achieve better health outcomes to improve healthcare quality in Pakistan, the statement added.

Currently, there is no formal Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) program either at the national, provincial or the facility level. These National IPC Guidelines will be applied and practiced throughout the country for prevention from infection, especially in context of COVID-19.

The main objective of these guidelines was to provide basic and simple IPC knowledge and practices to prevent the healthcare workers and patients from contracting different kind infections. These Infection Prevention and Control guidelines will be implemented at all times for extending safe care in all healthcare facilities (primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities - in both private and public sectors) as a part of the routine practices in healthcare environment.

On this occasion the Executive Director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram said we are optimistic that the effective implementation of these simple IPC practices and functions of COPS will have an enormous positive impact in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), and improving patient safety levels.