Many overseas delegations visit the RCN ever year. They comes to learn about nursing in the UK, how the RCN supports our members and to share insights from their countries. In return, we learn a lot from them about common challenges facing the global nursing profession, and innovative practice which we think the UK could adopt.
On 30th October we hosted a delegation from Kazakhstan. This group was made up of regional health managers, doctors and nurses.
As a bit of background, Kazakhstan is a successor state of the old Soviet Union. Geographically its huge – the entire UK could fit into it eleven times, but it has less than a third of the UK’s population. It has plentiful supplies of oil and natural gas which has helped it to upgrade its health infrastructure. However, a major challenge is infection control and prevention which is what they wanted to talk to us about.
Our infection-control lead, Rose Gallagher spoke to this group about the role and function of the Royal College and how the prevention of infection sits and works within the organisation. We also discussed the impact of major outbreaks such as Stoke Mandeville, the role of the public and media in influencing policy on the prevention of infection, the regulation infection prevention control and the critical work of specialist nurses in this area.
Although infection prevention is a global problem, our exchange with this group highlighted that low public awareness and an overly cautious media discussion on this issue is likely to be driving growing infection rates in Kazakhstan. Having nurses in place, especially in rural areas, who are able to support patients to identify symptoms, self-manage and adopt preventative behaviours is critical going forward.