Most of the infections and diseases are
caused by germs that spread by people's actions. One simple, yet effective way
to prevent the spread of infection is by maintaining good hand hygiene. A
simple change in behavior such as washing hands regularly can reduce the spread
of infections and save the lives of millions.
‘Adequate hand hygiene practices can reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance.’
The WHO calls on countries and healthcare
facilities to strengthen infection prevention and control programs based on the
WHO guidelines. One of the core components of infection prevention and
control is hand hygiene, which plays an important role in combating
Hand Hygiene and Antibiotic Resistance
In the recent years, the global threat of antibiotic resistance
intensified. Antibiotic resistance occurs when a microorganism is no longer
destroyed or stopped by antibiotic medications. Microbes have become resistant
to almost all antibiotics in use. Thus, a simple act of keeping the hands
germ-free can prevent the spread of resistant microbes that can be present on
or in patients or the environment.
Hand Hygiene in Healthcare
Studies have shown that healthcare
professionals clean their hands less than half of the times they should.
Unclean hands increase the risk of healthcare-associated infections that affect
one in 25 hospital patients. One in ten patients gets an infection while
receiving treatment. Thirty-two percent of patients receiving surgical care
suffer from post-operative infection.
"Healthcare-associated infections are one of
the most frequent adverse events in healthcare delivery. It is a major public
health problem that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide," said Dr
Mahmoud Fikri, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Dr Fikri added, "Healthcare-associated infections
cause harm that can be easily avoided. They also result in additional financial
burden and sometimes even long-term disabilities or death. I urge all
healthcare workers to ensure adequate hand hygiene and all healthcare
facilities to commit to improving hand hygiene
to help save more lives."
Facts on Healthcare-Associated Infections
5 Key Factors for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare
- In high-income countries, healthcare-associated infections can
affect at least seven out of every 100 hospitalized
- In low and middle-income countries,
healthcare-associated infections can affect 10 in every 100 hospitalized
- In Intensive Care Unit, 30 out of 100 patients
suffer from healthcare-associated infections.
- Before touching a patient
- Before cleaning and
aseptic procedures such as inserting catheters
contact with body fluids
- After touching a patient
- After touching patient surroundings
Healthcare workers can prevent infections by
using an alcohol-based rub or by hand washing with soap and water. Studies have
demonstrated that hand washing eradicates the carriage of MRSA, which occurs on
the hands of healthcare providers working in the ICU. Adherence to hand hygiene
has significantly reduced the rates of acquisition of microbes on hands and has
reduced the rates of healthcare-associated infections.
Adequate hand hygiene can save eight million
lives every year in hospitals alone. Remember, clean hands can make the
healthcare facilities a safer place to receive and provide care.
- SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands 5 May 2017 -
- Clean Hands Count for Safe Healthcare -
- Good hand hygiene by health workers protects
patients from drug resistant infections - (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/hand-hygiene/en/)