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Dr Gabriel Birgand is an Infection Control consultant at the Nantes University Hospital in France and Head of the Regional Center for Infection Control. The Regional Center for Infection Control is the French national reference centre for antimicrobial and healthcare associated infections surveillance and prevention in the community and long-term care settings. Dr Birgand is a collaborative researcher at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance at Imperial College London. His research interests include the diagnosis and prevention of surgical site infections and evaluating measures to control the spread of multidrug resistant organisms.
First and foremost, are there any key leadership messages you want to get out to our readership?
The first message would be optimism. In these phases of anxiety, everybody needs optimism. The second is to be strong on measures you think to be appropriate, and do not answer automatically to people’s anxiety, notably for personal protective equipment. But, be flexible when necessary and adjust your message to the growing evidence. The final message is to be cautious with all statements and forecasts. We suffered from people being very sure of themselves and having their say, notably in media and being totally wrong afterwards. In these situations, we also have to be humble, and sometimes acknowledge what we do not know.
Tell us a little bit about your leadership role and how it is changing as a result of the pandemic?
The regional centre for infection prevention and control (IPC, Pays de la Loire region) is providing support and advice to primary care, nursing homes and healthcare settings to prevent Healthcare associated infection (HAI) and the transmission of communicable diseases. COVID-19 very soon …
Author note Interview conducted by RA on 9th June 2020 behalf of BMJ Leader. RA and Ms Sara Yadav edited the transcript.
Funding RA is Knowledge Mobilisation Lead, and supported by, the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance at Imperial College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and affiliated with the NIHR HPRU Modelling and Health Economics, and the NIHR HPRU Respiratory Infections. RA and GB gratefully acknowledge the support of ESRC as part of the Antimicrobial Cross Council initiative supported by the seven UK research councils, and also the support of the Global Challenges Research Fund.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.