03 May 2024
HIS celebrates the WHO's World Hand Hygiene Day 2024
5 May is World Hand Hygiene Day, raising awareness about the importance of hand hygiene to prevent a range of infectious diseases.
Each year the World Health Oganization's 'SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands' campaign highlights importance of hand hygiene in healthcare worldwide, and brings people together in support of hand hygiene improvement globally.

HIS support WHO's call to achieve universal health coverage (UHC): better health and wellbeing for all people at all ages, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

Infection prevention and control, including hand hygiene, is critical to achieve UHC as it is a practical and evidence-based approach with demonstrated impact on quality of care and patient safety across all levels of the health system.

Using WHO's resources, we have compiled a list of key facts about hand hygiene:

  • Hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers is often poor – WHO found an average of 59.6% compliance levels in ICUs globally.
  • There are extreme differences in hand hygiene compliance between high-income and low-income countries – 64.5% vs 9.1%.
  • About a quarter of healthcare facilities, mainly from low-income countries, reported basic or inadequate levels of hand hygiene implementation.
  • The level of hand hygiene implementation is dependent on available resources – a lack of dedicated IPC budget and training increases the risk of preventable healthcare-associated infection.
  • Globally, one in three healthcare facilities do not have adequate facilities to perform hand hygiene at the point of care.
  • Half of healthcare facilities in low-income and middle-income countries lack basic hygiene services.
  • Large inequalities exist in the least developed countries – 70% have no basic healthcare waste management system, 50% have no basic water services, 20% have no sanitation services.

Practical action to take to tackle hand hygiene:

  1. Before touching a patient
  2. Before cleaning or aseptic procedures
  3. After body fluid exposure risk
  4. After touching a patient
  5. After touching patient surroundings
  • Hand hygiene improvement programmes can prevent up to 50% avoidable infections acquired during healthcare delivery and generate economic savings on average 16 times the cost of implementation.

Check out the  WHO's advocacy toolkit aimed at all healthcare workers who plan to undertake hand hygiene campaigns as well as some key information and facts on this important topic. 

HIS provide IPC learning materials and training courses for all IPC professionals (the majority of which align to the NSHE IPC Education Framework) browse our list of courses here.