The Safe Surgery 2020 Initiative aims to put the power of transforming surgical care into the hands of the teams that save lives everyday. SS2020 designs and supports programs that make surgery safe, accessible, and affordable. One way we do this is by offering Facility Accelerator Fund (FAF) grants to hospitals participating in the Safe Surgery 2020 Leadership Training program. As part of the FAF grant program, through the support of the GE Foundation, SS2020 is helping fund an infrastructure project to improve the operating room at Addisalem Hospital in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. This project will greatly reduce surgical site infections in surgery by providing a clean and safe environment.
Two members from Assist International, Chase Reynolds and Matt Sudfeld, and Safe Surgery 2020 mentor Dr. Zebenay recently visited Addisalem Hospital and met with the hospital’s CEO, Mulat Yigwa, to evaluate the progress of the project. Many improvements are under way. The hospital has procured a new water distiller and installed a water line to transport distilled water to the operating theater’s autoclave. This will greatly increase the hospital’s ability to sterilize their instruments, ensuring a long life for the autoclave and minimizing the risk of surgical site infections in patients.
To ensure that instruments are properly sterilized, it is important to first properly sanitize them after use. Through the use of the FAF grant, a new and improved instrument sanitization station is currently being installed in the operating theater. Another improvement to the operating theater is the installation of automatic sinks around the building so that surgeons and nurses can wash their hands and arms without needing to touch the faucet, reducing the risk of cross contamination.
While we are very excited about the progress so far, there is more work to be done as part of the FAF grant. The hospital is awaiting bids from local contractors to perform additional work such as installing new doors in the building to eliminate the risk of unauthorized entry as well as to provide better structural integrity to further decrease the spread of bacteria throughout the operating theater. Local contractors are bidding on a project to bring water and sewage lines into another operating room at the hospital. Properly equipping this operating room will allow the hospital to perform elective surgeries and emergency surgeries simultaneously. This will greatly reduce the amount of emergency referrals Addisalem hospital will have to make and allow them to save lives during critical times.