Moira Walker Memorial Award for International Service | IPAC Canada

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Moira Walker Memorial Award for International Service


Deadline for Submission: March 31, 2017

Moira WalkerThis Award honors an individual or group that has demonstrated extraordinary efforts to bring about change or improvement related to infection prevention and control in parts of the world that are under developed or under resourced. The annual award is in honour of Moira Walker RN CIC, a Past President of IPAC Canada and Past Honourary Secretary of the International Federation of Infection Control. Moira's life was dedicated to enhancing the physical and spiritual health of her many friends and colleagues.

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Donna MoralejoMoira Walker's qualities of involvement, commitment and dedication to infection prevention and control guided our selection of the ideal candidate for this award. The 2015 honoree is Professor Donna Moralejo PhD of Memorial University School of Nursing, St. John`s NL. Donna has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to infection prevention and control on the local, national and international stage. To her colleagues in Newfoundland and Labrador, she is an advocate, a leader once serving as president of the chapter, and an educator. Nationally she served on the IPAC Canada Board of Directors for six years. As Director of Education she was instrumental in development of the novice ICP distance education course and has been involved with the national education conference for many years in several positions, among them Scientific Chair, Co-chair and advisor.

Donna's international work has focused on community capacity building in an effort to prevent the transmission of communicable disease and strengthen public health interventions.

Her earliest international work was in Indonesia (2001-2006) where she was part of a team at Memorial School of Nursing working with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Indonesia to develop community health nursing there. The focus of one project was related to educating women and families about hand hygiene and food safety to reduce diarrheal disease, and intervening to improve hand hygiene and ventilation/reduced exposure to kitchen and tobacco smoke to reduce respiratory disease. The target groups were children under age 5. The occurrence of both diarrheal and respiratory diseases decreased following the interventions.

She worked twice with the WHO's Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) initiative for polio eradication. The first mission was in Haiti in 2002, where she and her team mates set up 100 community and hospital sentinel sites for surveillance of their notifiable diseases, focusing primarily on polio, measles and neonatal tetanus. The second STOP mission was in Burkina Faso in 2005. The emphasis was also on strengthening their surveillance of notifiable diseases, focusing primarily on polio, measles, yellow fever and neonatal tetanus. Since Donna and her team mates completed their mission, Burkina Faso has met the surveillance target each year.

Her other two projects have focused on strengthening immunization, though each had a different method. One project was in Ethiopia (2007-2008) where she collaborated with the Ethiopian Public Health Association and two universities' medical schools. The project involved training students in nursing, medicine, pharmacy and the health inspector program. As part of a 6-8 week clinical placement in rural villages, they collaborated to identify factors that led to under-immunization of children and then implemented strategies to address those factors. The other project was in Haiti (2009-2011) where she worked with the Haitian Public Health Association (ASPHA). They researched factors that led to under-immunization in one specific region of Haiti, and made locally relevant, evidence-based recommendations for addressing those factors. While it is up to the government and health care system to implement the recommendations, ASPHA was able to develop its capacity for conducting a research-based needs assessment and its credibility as an expert resource.

Her international activities have also allowed her interaction with healthcare workers in several countries. Such activities include giving presentations at international conferences, and five years of service on the Strengthening of Public Health Associations (SOPHA) Review and Evaluation Committee of the Canadian Public Health Association. The SOPHA program offered support (technical and financial) to new or struggling public health associations in developing countries. Although her position as university professor includes a mandate to conduct research, her focus had been to move beyond research and help build capacity at both the level of individuals and systems.

Her international work is now continuing in different ways: as part of two international Cochrane review teams (UK and Brazil) and working with the International Federation of Infection Control (IFIC). The two reviews are about interventions to strengthen hand hygiene, and interventions to strengthen standard and transmission based precautions. Both reviews should be published within the next year. She has just started her four year term with IFIC on the Board of Trustees but will no doubt draw on her experience and skills to help promote capacity building in infection prevention and control.

Dr. Moralejo`s award was presented at the 2015 Opening Ceremonies. She presented an overview of her international initiatives at the Tuesday morning, Champions of Infection Prevention and Control Breakfast.

This award was made possible through the support of