May 5th is World Health Organization (WHO) #HandHygiene Day

Hospitals and health-care facilities throughout the world are invited to take part in a global initiative, to continue to raise hand hygiene awareness, to move action to the point of care, and to reduce health care-associated infection (HAI).

This post was written by Hiroki Saito, Tcheun Borzykowski, Claire Kilpatrick, Daniela Pires, Benedetta Allegranzi, and Didier Pittet.

Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection (Singer et al.). It is estimated to affect more than 30 million people worldwide every year with high mortality and morbidity (Fleischmann et al.). Sepsis was reported as a key global health issue at the Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2017 where a resolution on sepsis was adopted by Member States (Rhodes et al.).

Sepsis can result from care practices and complicate healthcare-associated infections. Hand hygiene, a core of infection prevention and control (IPC), plays a critical role in preventing such avoidable events (WHO guidelines for hand hygiene and IPC). Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign aims to bring people together in support of hand hygiene improvement globally on or around 5 May (WHO Toolkit).

In 2018, the campaign focuses on supporting the prevention of sepsis in health care. WHO urges ministries of health, health facility leaders, IPC leaders, health workers and patient advocacy groups to take action on hand hygiene to prevent sepsis in health care. WHO also invites health facilities to join the global campaign to demonstrate on-going commitment to hand hygiene and IPC.

Each hand hygiene action contributes preventing sepsis in health care: let’s act together, “It’s in your hands – prevent sepsis in health care.”

World Health Organization SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign calls to action:

  • Health workers – ‘Take 5 Moments* to clean your hands to prevent sepsis in health care’
  • Infection prevention and control leaders – ‘Be a champion in promoting hand hygiene to prevent sepsis in health care’
  • Health facility leaders – ‘Prevent sepsis in health care, make hand hygiene a quality indicator in your hospital’
  • Ministries of health – ‘Implement the 2017 World Health Assembly sepsis resolution. Make hand hygiene a national marker of health care quality’
  • Patient advocacy groups – ‘Ask for 5 Moments of clean hands to prevent sepsis in health care’
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