VICNISS and the pandemic response

A note of thanks to the VICNISS Coordinating Centre

from DHHS Deputy Public Health Commander and Director Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Cell Claire Boardman

2020 is a year that will never be forgotten and the contribution of VICNISS Coordinating Centre throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hasn’t gone unnoticed.

DHHS Deputy Public Health Commander and Director Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Cell Claire Boardman says that her team has been a key beneficiary of the expertise of VICNISS and that the collaboration has been instrumental in realising several key projects.

The most notable of these, Claire says, is the input of VICNISS to a series of foundation documents which required substantial collating and synthesising of evidence to inform coronavirus (COVID-19) resource development. This includes the cleaning and disinfecting guidelines and notably, the Infection Control Guidelines. To date, those documents have been downloaded more than 1200 times.

“IPC has been fortunate to have several VICNISS senior Infection Control Consultants as team members working alongside us to help develop the Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19),” Claire says.

“These were large and challenging pieces of work, because they required bringing information together from a range of sources, including previously-developed documents and emerging evidence. We needed to meet the demand for timely information and do so accurately.”

The IPC cell has also responded to around 1,500 requests for assistance and advice on infection prevention and control related to COVID-19, a large proportion of these requiring input from VICNISS, especially in the early months of the pandemic.

More recently, VICNISS continues to offer invaluable advice and support related to the aged care sector on behalf of the IPC Cell, an area with a complex stakeholder environment and which requires clear, concise, timely and standardised advice.

VICNISS is also providing high-level advice and support to the new IPC data team. This input will allow a look-back at events and to draw more deeply on available data which will inform future policy and position papers.

“There is a can-do attitude, an offer to be available and to participate that comes with VICNISS which isn’t quantifiable in terms of outputs,” Claire says.

“We have been fortunate to draw on their expertise and support particularly in an environment where IPC expert advice is very thin on the ground and consultants have been in high demand in all settings and jurisdictions. 

“That attitude and the expertise that VICNISS brings is substantial. And the ultimate beneficiary is the Victorian community.”

Resources on coronavirus (COVID-19) infection prevention control is available on the DHHS website. <https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/infection-prevention-control-resources-covid