Nebiyou’s Story – A SPECT Success Story in Ethiopia

SPECT Ethiopia

Nebiyou works at Alamata Hospital in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. He is an Operating Room nurse and part of his hospital’s surgical instrument sterilization team. Last month, Nebiyou traveled to Mekele to take part in a week of training led by Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT). SPECT provides customized training sessions and individualized hands-on mentoring by internationally certified sterile processing technicians on cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing medical devices for hospital staff responsible for the reprocessing of surgical instruments.

Over the course of the week Nebiyou learned best practices for properly cleaning and sterilizing surgical instruments. He also learned skills and knowledge to train other members of his staff and other hospital teams in these same techniques. When the SPECT team went to Alamata Hospital for follow up mentoring and training, they were happy to see that in just a few days he was already implementing the practices he learned.

When SPECT arrived, they saw that Nebiyou had found two mobile water distillers in the hospital storage and installed them in the decontamination room to provide his team with distilled water to be used in the manual cleaning of their instruments. This small change will go a long way in increasing the lifespan of their tools as well as minimizing the risk of surgical site infections.

He also implemented a new storage system to help keep the hospital’s sterilized tools safe from contamination. To do this, he found an unused enclosed cupboard in the hospital and had it moved into the surgical ward storage area. His team then spent time cleaning and disinfecting it to provide a sterile environment to store tools. Prior to this, they had been storing their sterile instruments on a table next to an open window. Nebiyou also made sure that every member of his staff was able to have access to a clean apron to be worn during the cleaning process instead of their previous practice of sharing aprons between cleaning and use in the OR. He also switched out old cloth tablecloths for rubber ones that could be properly sanitized between rounds of instrument cleaning.

SPECT Ethiopia

Nebiyou was so excited about the training he received that he has begun the process of planning training sessions to teach 14 members of his staff the skills he had learned. Along with this, he had signs created to help reinforce the new practices his team was learning. The Tigray Regional Health Bureau was so happy with his knowledge and motivation that they want him to start training other hospitals in these skills as well.

The SPECT team was brought to Ethiopia in partnership with Assist International, leading innovations for the Safe Surgery 2020 initiative (SS2020).

SS2020 is a multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve surgical outcomes in low and middle income countries. It is funded by GE Foundation and in partnership with Assist International, Dalberg, G4 AllianceHarvard Program for Global Surgery and Social Change, and Jhpiego. Assist International leads the innovations program.

Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT) charitable organization established to improve sterile processing practices in developing countries.


GE Foundation

Safe Surgery 2020

Assist International

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