Staff must implement strict infection control measures when handling infected patients, which requires more time and money. Weakened patients in particular must then be protected at great expense, because an infection can be life-threatening in their case. In the worst-case scenario, entire wards can no longer be operated if an outbreak cannot be controlled there. So small measures like hand hygiene can have a big impact.
The World Health Organization (WHO) marks World Hand Hygiene Day every year on May 5. The date stands for "twice five", meaning the five fingers on each hand. These must be disinfected and cleaned for at least thirty seconds for thorough hand hygiene to achieve a sufficient reduction of pathogens on the skin. This should be done at the "Five Moments of Hand Hygiene". These are critical times in the daily workflow of healthcare professionals when it is particularly easy for pathogens to be transmitted via the hands.
The motto for this year's day is "Unite for safety: clean your hands". It calls for the creation of a culture of quality and safety in healthcare facilities that values hand hygiene and infection prevention. This includes collaboration between all levels of the hierarchy to achieve this common goal.
WHO is once again providing numerous materials on this year's campaign site that health facilities and health workers can use to get involved in the campaign. There are also information and training materials there. An online course on the topic will also be held on May 5 itself.
To make the campaign visible outside the healthcare sector, it will also happen on social media platforms. Healthcare professionals can use the hashtag #HandHygiene to show themselves and their team performing hand hygiene with pictures or videos. On the associated "Faces of the Campaign" page, WHO provides more information on how to participate.