Heroes of Infection Prevention 2013
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Acting as a powerful voice for infection prevention
Sanjeev K. Singh, DCH, MD, MPhil
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences
Kochi, Kerala, India
Faced with a staggering lack of infection prevention resources and policies in his native India, Sanjeev Singh, DCH, MD, MPhil, can only be described as “undaunted.” Through relentless focus on collaboration and best practices, Dr. Singh has generated infection prevention practice and policy improvements benefiting patients and practitioners in his 1,200-bed hospital and across India.
The medical superintendent at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences teaching hospital in Southern India, Dr. Singh is a powerful voice for infection prevention. “Our country has 1.2 billion people, but no national infection control policy,” he says. “My mission is to make people see it is important.”
Dr. Singh grew his own infection prevention department by demonstrating that good infection prevention practices improved his hospital’s bottom line. He chairs the hospital’s infection control committee, which meets weekly to review surveillance practices and key issues.
Dr. Singh is a role model for infection preventionists who want to affect change beyond their own institutions, spearheading infection prevention and control program and policy creation at district, state, and national levels. He initiated a district-wide infection control certification program, and is working closely with two Indian states to implement standardized infection prevention and control policies. “We can’t tackle all 28 states at once, so we start small,” he said.
In October 2012, Dr. Singh coordinated a meeting between representatives from every Indian clinical society, doctors, nurses, and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. The group developed a declaration calling for a national Indian infection prevention and control policy, which they submitted to India’s National Health Ministry.
Dr. Singh is also working toward founding APIC’s India chapter and hopes to build India’s infection prevention and control capacity through online and multi-state APIC training. He is enthusiastic about other future projects as well – a national infection prevention and control database and antimicrobial stewardship programs, and an infection prevention journal, to start.
“Look outside your institution; let others be enriched by your expertise, and you can create broad, impactful change,” he said.