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World Hand Hygiene Day( Seconds save lives, clean your hands! )

In our daily lives, we do so much with our hands. They are tools for creativity and for expressing ourselves, and a means for providing care and doing good. But hands can also be centres for germs and can easily spread infectious diseases to others – including vulnerable patients being treated in health facilities.

This World Hand Hygiene Day, we interviewed Ana Paola Coutinho Rehse, Technical Officer for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control at WHO/Europe, to find out about the importance of hand hygiene and what the campaign hopes to achieve.

1. Why is hand hygiene important?

Hand hygiene is a key protective measure against infectious diseases and helps prevent further transmission. As we have seen recently, hand cleaning is at the heart of our emergency responses to many infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 and hepatitis, and it continues to be a vital tool for infection prevention and control (IPC) everywhere.

Even now, during the Ukraine war, good hygiene, including hand hygiene, is proving vital for the safe care of refugees and the treatment of those that have been injured in the war. Maintaining good hand hygiene therefore needs to be part of all our routines, at all times.

2. Can you tell us about the theme for this year’s World Hand Hygiene Day?

WHO has been promoting World Hand Hygiene Day since 2009. This year, the theme is “Unite for safety: clean your hands”, and it encourages health-care facilities to develop quality and safety climates or cultures that value hand hygiene and IPC. It recognizes that people at all levels in these organizations have a role to play in working together to influence this culture, through spreading knowledge, leading by example and supporting clean hand behaviours.

3. Who can take part in this year’s World Hand Hygiene Day campaign?

Anyone is welcome to get involved in the campaign. It is primarily aimed at health workers, but embraces all those who can influence hand hygiene improvement through a culture of safety and quality, such as sector leaders, managers, senior clinical staff, patient organizations, quality and safety managers, IPC practitioners, etc.

4. Why is hand hygiene in health-care facilities so important?

Every year, hundreds of millions of patients are affected by health care-associated infections, leading to the death of 1 in 10 infected patients. Hand hygiene is one of the most critical and proven measures to reduce this avoidable harm. The key message from World Hand Hygiene Day is that people at all levels need to believe in the importance of hand hygiene and IPC to prevent these infections from happening and to save lives.

Post time: May-13-2022