Establishing a community of practice for neonatologists and IPC experts: the NeoIPC Clinical Practice Network

April 15, 2024

Recently, we sat with Tuuli Metsvaht, Chair of the NeoIPC Clinical Practice Network (CPN) and Head of the Paediatric Clinic at Tartu University Hospital (Estonia), to discuss the CPN’s mission and impact on infection prevention and control in neonatal care. Tuuli shared insights into the CPN’s growth from its inception to its current status as an international hub of collaboration among healthcare professionals dedicated to promoting IPC practices to improve newborn health.

 

Interviewer (I): Can you tell us about the NeoIPC Clinical Practice Network (CPN) and its objectives?

Tuuli Metsvaht (TM): Certainly. The NeoIPC Clinical Practice Network (CPN) is a group of healthcare professionals working in NICUs interested in finding innovative ways to prevent infections in newborn babies. It started as part of the NeoIPC project and has become an online-based, newborn health-focused community of practice, dedicated to addressing critical knowledge gaps in infection prevention and control (IPC) in neonatal care. 

I: How did the CPN come into existence, and what has its growth been like since its inception?

TM: The CPN was initially launched during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week in November 2022. Since then, it has grown a lot. We now have more than 160 members from 106 NICUs in 35 different countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia. Our members include neonatologists, nurses, microbiologists, infection prevention experts, and other enthusiasts in the field.

I: What sets the CPN apart from traditional neonatal societies?

TM: The CPN was created because we realised there was a pressing need for an international hub where clinicians and practitioners could informally talk about managing outbreaks in NICUs, discuss implementation of IPC measures and of hospital-acquired infection surveillance, and sharing their experiences. In that sense, the CPN is more than just a regular neonatal society. We’ve built a space where people from different backgrounds can come together to work towards improving standards of care for newborns worldwide. 

I: Could you elaborate on the initiatives undertaken by the CPN to advance infection prevention in neonatal care?

TM: One important thing we’re doing is creating a comprehensive collection of resources about infection prevention and control. Drawing on the expertise of our members, we’re gathering recommendations, guidelines, training courses and other useful materials on neonatal IPC, available in different languages. This resource library helps other healthcare professionals find evidence-based IPC recommendations and encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the field. 

I: Looking towards the future, what are the aspirations of the CPN, and how does it aim to expand its impact?

TM: Looking ahead, we want the CPN to keep growing and make a bigger impact. By leveraging the collective expertise of our members, we hope to improve the standards of care and make sure fewer newborns get sick from infectionsAs the Chair of the NeoIPC Clinical Practice Network, I must say I am really proud of how far we’ve come. The CPN shows how people can collaborate and come up with new ideas to protect premature babies in NICUs all over the world. 

 

[This interview has been included in the 2023 Penta Annual Report.]