Celebrating world hand hygiene day

As we come towards 5th May, it’s time to celebrate global hand hygiene day! This year, the theme for the WHO’s campaign is ‘Clean care for all – it’s in your hands’.

The WHO team in Geneva have published editorials in a range of journals (including one here in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology) outlining the details of the campaign. The campaign includes individual calls to action for different staff groups. This is a good message: regardless of your professional background or role, hand hygiene is in your hands! The campaign and also launches a Global Survey on Hand Hygiene (details here).

The idea of ‘Clean care for all’ is broader than just hand hygiene – and encompasses the cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and medical devices in what is a ‘multi-modal’ approach to infection prevention. The transmission of pathogenic micro-organisms between patients occurs through a complex network of vectors and fomites. If we are to prevent the transmission of pathogens that cause HCAI in hospitals, it’s no good just focussing on hand hygiene – otherwise the organisms will ‘choose’ an alternative route (see the Diagram below)!

   Diagram: Dynamic transmission routes of microorganisms that can cause HCAI