The importance of good air quality in hospitals highlighted at IEQ workshop facilitated by PAHO

Public health inspectors at IEQ workshop

Kingston, Jamaica, August 25, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) - In an era where the prevalence of viruses is on the rise and their spread is harder to control, maintaining excellent air quality within healthcare facilities has never been more critical. Recognizing this, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has taken proactive steps to support the Ministry of Health and Wellness by facilitating a workshop to assess the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of healthcare facilities.

The workshop was conducted on-site at the PAHO Jamaica country office and off-site at two healthcare facilities, offering theoretical and hands-on training to approximately 20 public health inspectors in evaluating indoor air quality within the healthcare system. Throughout the 5-day workshop, participants covered several topics, including visual assessments of the building envelope and indoor environment, heating, filtration, and, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. 

Maintaining good air quality in healthcare facilities is vital for preventing the spread of infections. Additionally, it promotes patient recovery and helps safeguard the health of medical personnel, while also preventing the worsening of patient symptoms. To achieve good air quality, it is recommended that healthcare facilities adopt a multifaceted approach. This approach includes installing air quality devices to filter out pollutants, regularly cleaning ventilation and pressure systems, and maintaining an overall clean environment.

Simone Calvin, a Public Health Inspector who participated in the workshop, said, "Although the information was a lot to take in, this workshop has been very informative and has provided me with the knowledge and skills needed to execute my duties better."

The workshop was developed with the support of Global Affairs Canada and is part of the environmental health actions inside the project “Providing Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for Populations in Situations of Vulnerability in the Americas.”