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Infections and infectious diseases are a great burden on many societies, including the countries

in the WHO European region. To reduce that burden an integrated approach is required,

combining health promotion, disease prevention and patient treatment. The prerequisite for

success in this fight is the participation of all health care professionals. Nurses and midwives,

as major frontline providers of care, are in a position to contribute significantly to reducing

the burden.

Infections and infectious diseases: A manual for nurses and midwives in the WHO European

region has been written with the aim of developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of

nurses and midwives regarding infections and infectious diseases and their prevention and

control. It is intended for use as an interactive learning package for nurses and midwives in

the WHO European region, specifically in the more eastern part of the region. Mastery of

this material will enable nurses and midwives to respond to threats to the community, to

teach their patients and members of the community effective ways of preventing infections

and infectious diseases, to provide high quality and effective care to people with infectious

diseases and to use appropriate measures to ensure safe practice.

The manual comprises seven modules. Each module is in two parts: theory and practice,

with opportunities for self-assessment through learning activities and a workbook. The manual

should be used as a package to ensure that, after training, nurses and midwives have a broad

and up-to-date knowledge of infections and infectious diseases. Each section of the manual

can also be used independently to develop knowledge in a specific area, and the manual as a

whole can be used as a reference book in health care settings.

The manual is a joint initiative between the Red Cross and the WHO Regional Office for

Europe. It has been based on Communicable disease. Nursing course manual. Prepared for

distance education by the National Nursing Centre of China, 1992. Over the last two years,

the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health has adapted the Chinese manual

to make it relevant to nurses and midwives in Europe. The WHO Regional Office for

Europe and the Red Cross wish to thank the staff at the Scottish Centre for their work, as

well as the many other people who have contributed to making the manual a reality, including

the WHO collaborating centres for nursing and midwifery in the European Region and

Barbara Stilwell, Scientist at WHO headquarters.

Terhi Heinasmaki

International Federation

of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Ainna Fawcett-Henesy

WHO Regional Office for Europe