Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group

Engaging diverse staff to improve infection prevention practices

Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group
Middle East and North Africa Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Infection Control and Prevention Team:

  • Ms. Haifaa Al Talhi – Infection Control Manager
  • Ms. Demarisse D. Martinez – Infection Control Nurse
  • Ms. Riffat Shaheen – Infection Control Nurse
  • Ms. Abigail Kris Samarista – Infection Control Nurse
  • Mr. Zeeshan Mansoor Ali – Training and Development Manager
  • Mr. Mohammad Hussein Mustafa – Director of Nursing, Olaya Medical Complex
  • Dr. Nimer Faiyaz – Hospital Administrator

Infection preventionists within the large Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group (HMG) have worked together to dramatically improve infection prevention practices and reduce infection rates across their 1,600-bed organization.

One of the largest healthcare providers in the Middle East, HMG operates 14 medical centers of excellence in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Infection prevention and patient safety have been priorities for HMG since the group was established in 1995.

“Early on, we developed and adopted policies and procedures, auditing methodology, and educational programs that are in line with evidence-based practices and the latest national and international guidelines,” said Haifaa Al Talhi, infection control manager.

In addition to the typical infection prevention challenges, HMG infection preventionists face an additional, daunting obstacle: They must reach and engage 10,000 employees from more than 45 nationalities and associated languages.

A recent hand hygiene compliance program demonstrates the group’s ability to overcome this challenge. “We focus on hand hygiene because it has the highest impact on the community and clinical outcomes,” said Al Talhi. In January 2013, infection control committees across HMG collaborated to develop and launch a hand hygiene champion campaign. Senior management at each facility were positioned as role models – publicly endorsing and demonstrating proper hand hygiene practices. The group then employed a similar strategy at supervisory levels to ensure effective dissemination of good practices among the ethnically and culturally diverse facilities.

Infection prevention teams posted images and multilingual instructional posters at all hand hygiene stations and required all new staff to attend hand hygiene training. At one of the HMG facilities, hand hygiene compliance rates increased from 63 to 76 percent in just six months.

“Engaging people, showing them the importance of infection prevention and control practices, and giving them a sense of ownership has helped facilitate good infection control practices across our organization,” said Al Talhi.