Hand hygiene is the entrance door for reducing health care-associated infections and increasing patient safety, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) underscored today as it marked global Hand Hygiene Day.
WHO Saves Lives: Clean Your Hands is an annual initiative to support health-care workers to improve hand hygiene, thereby supporting the prevention of often life-threatening infections associated with health care.
The campaign aims to galvanize action at the point of care, as well as to demonstrate the world’s commitment to this area of health care.
“Sustaining the efforts to improve patient safety requires dedicated action and innovation, both of which are now more crucial than ever,” WHO said.
The campaign, which was launched in 2009, asks health facilities and other leaders to show their commitment for and take action on improving hand hygiene in health care.
This year’s focus – hand hygiene supports safe surgical care – stresses hand hygiene as part of an infection prevention and control programme in all settings that support surgery, prevent patient infection and reduce an avoidable burden on health systems, WHO said.
As of the end of April, a total of 18,739 hospitals and health-care facilities in 176 countries have registered their commitment to hand hygiene as part of the campaign, WHO said.