proper handwashing technique

Hand Hygiene Global Action Day Tomorrow

WHO is urging hospitals to join its campaign and form a global network to promote improvements in hand hygiene and strategies to prevent health-care associated infections.

Tomorrow, May 5, is a global call to action day for the World Health Organization in its campaign stressing the importance of good hand hygiene in patient care and prevent health care-associated infections. WHO says it will launch finalized hand hygiene guidelines and announce a new vision for improving hand hygiene based on the theme "Save lives: clean your hands" as an extension of the First Global Patient Safety Challenge.

Hospitals and health care facilities worldwide are asked to develop their own local activities, some of which will be presented at a two-day technical meeting at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland via video links. Countries where hand hygiene campaigns are already active will contribute to the meeting and discuss future planss, including the formation of a global network where improvements in hand hygiene, compliance, and sustainability can be promoted.

The agency said 117 countries as of April 2009 have pledged their support for the campaign, and more than 30 countries have developed their own campaigns thus far. Pilot test sites have been set up in all six WHO regions to test the strategies being developed.

WHO's "Five Moments for Hand Hygiene" leaflet is available here. It explains the five moments when health workers should wash their hands: 1. Before touching a patient when approaching, 2. Immediately before any aseptic task, 3. Immediately after any exposure risk to body fluids and after glove removal, 4. After touching the patient and his or her immediate surroundings and when leaving, and 5. After touching any object or furniture in the patient's immediate surroundings, when leaving -- even if the worker did not touch the patient.

Hospitals can visit this site to register to take part in May 5 activities.

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