Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsors World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5th to remind us that Clean Hands Count every day of the year…and in more ways than we think. The WHO aims to catalyze the discussion on the importance of hand hygiene in healthcare and its overall improvement worldwide by bringing people together.
The theme for this year’s hand hygiene day is, “Fight Antibiotic Resistance; It’s in Your Hands.” At the very core of infection prevention is effective hand hygiene. It is the easiest and most affordable way that we can fight antibiotic resistance from the origin; we can break the chain of infection with clean hands, thus reducing the need for the use of antibiotics.
Specifically this year, the WHO wants us to focus on:
Cleaning our hands at the right times–Following the WHO 5 Moments and CDC Guidelines for hand hygiene, paying attention to the moments where we are at the highest risk for contracting infection.
Engaging chief executives and higher-level managements to support hand hygiene initiatives, infection prevention/control programs– HAIs do not just affect patients and the front-line healthcare workers, they make an impact financially on hospital systems as a whole. Upper-level management is responsible for implementing and maintaining programs that improve patient safety, but also save them money.
Motivating Infection Prevention leaders to lead the charge for the hand hygiene campaign by meeting the standards and goals that we set for infection prevention and control – Having a hand hygiene champion is crucial to motivate and create a lasting behavior change. This can help rule out the age-old excuse of “I forgot.”
Encouraging policy makers to show national support for infection prevention and understand its role in antibiotic resistance– One of the strongest bodies that can fight for hand hygiene is those who have a direct link with influencing legislation. Groups like Infectious Diseases society of America (IDSA) advocate for the best interests of patients and healthcare workers, focusing on crucial topics like antibiotic resistance.