In 2008, the hospital staff at Bugando Medical Center in Mwanza, Tanzania, asked AmeriCares for help.

While doctors, nurses, and lab technicians were working to help others, they were worried about their own health and safety. They did not have the training and supplies they needed to protect themselves against infection or injury and had seen their fellow workers fall ill from needlesticks and other workplace exposures. Like many developing country healthcare facilities, their own hospital was not a safe place to work.

AmeriCares developed a comprehensive Health Worker Safety Initiative and, within three years, the Bugando Medical Centre had undergone a drastic change. All 1,200 employees at the hospital were trained in proven safety techniques—everything from safely handling used needles to putting out fires. Nearly 900 health workers were vaccinated against hepatitis B so they could protect themselves and their patients from this deadly illness. The improved safety of all the hospital staff members has a significant impact on the quality of care provided to the 240,000 patients treated at Bugando each year. 

In all, AmeriCares provided $3.6 million in training, facilities upgrades, products and other support services so Bugando Medical Center could become a center of excellence in health worker safety.

At the same time, AmeriCares staff in India began a similar health worker safety program at Jagivan Railway Hospital in Mumbai. Learn more about AmeriCares health worker safety training in India.

Training Modules    

Through the Health Worker Safety Initiative, AmeriCares and Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) worked with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to develop a training curriculum for promoting workplace safety at BMC.  The eight-module training package and reference guide reflect best practices in occupational safety in healthcare settings, and can be adapted to a variety of clinical settings to improve health workers’ ability to protect themselves and their patients from hospital hazards and infection.  This training curriculum was implemented at BMC through the Health Worker Safety Initiative pilot, through which over 1,200 BMC health workers were trained by 40 peer trainers in best practices for occupational safety and infection prevention and control.

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 1: Infection Prevention and Control  (959 KB)
The importance of infection prevention and control, Causes of infections, Standard precautions against infections, Hand hygiene, Antiseptics and disinfectants, Personal protective equipment (PPE), Handling sharps

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 2: Post-Exposure Prophylaxis  (397 KB)
What is PEP?, Infectious body fluids, Types of exposures requiring PEP, PEP procedure, HIV Exposure, HBV Exposure, HCV Exposure, Toxicity and drug interactions

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 3: Health Care Waste Management  (176 KB)
What is health care waste?, Safer handling of hazardous waste, Waste segregation, Waste collection, Waste storage, Final waste disposal

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 4: Laboratory Safety  (216 KB)
Best practices for laboratory safety, Hazardous chemical/substance spills, Chemical storage, Standard lab safety equipment

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 5: Fire Prevention and Fire Safety  (298 KB)
Workplace fire hazards, Fire prevention measures, Fire emergencies and evacuation, Responding to fires

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 6: Electrical Safety  (370 KB)
Introduction, Key definitions, Causes of electric shock, Dangers of electric shock, Electrical burns, The Electrical Safety Model

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 7: Medical X-Ray Safety  (252 KB)
Introduction, Protection from X-ray Hazards, X-ray Safety for Health Workers, X-ray Safety for Patients

 Health Worker Safety Training Module 8: Safety in the Use of Chemicals  (235 KB)
How chemicals enter the human body, Effects of chemicals on the human body, Managing exposure to chemicals, Safe management of chemicals

 HWSI: A Guide for Workers in the Hospital Setting  (1.61 MB)
Bugando Medical Centre's Standard Hospital Guidelines for Health Workers’ Safety