Clean hands are the single most important factor in preventing the spread of pathogens and antibiotic resistance in healthcare settings. In developed countries health care associated infections (HAIs) are reported in 5–15% of hospitalised patients and in 9–37% of those who are admitted to ICUs. In developing countries the risk of HAI is 2–20 times higher with the mortality rate of 44%.
Many infections are transmitted via the hands of healthcare personnel during patient care. Following contact with patients or contaminated environment, organisms survive on hands for differing lengths of time (2-60 minutes). In the absence of hand hygiene action and the longer the duration of care, higher the degree of hand contamination and thereby transmission to patients.
It is reported that approximately 70% of health care workers do not routinely practice hand hygiene and further the evidence suggests that as little as 50% of surgical teams comply with hand hygiene best practices. It is highly emphasised all over the world that adequately and properly performed hand hygiene is the most important factor in preventing spread of organisms in health care settings and thereby reduce number of infections.
WHO conducts a global campaign on 5th May each year to support health care workers with the theme of ‘Save Lives: Clean Your Hands’. Almost 20 000 health facilities in 180 countries worldwide have joined the campaign. Durdans Hospital joins hands with the movement emphasising the importance of hand hygiene by providing regular training to all health care workers, monitoring hand hygiene practices and creating an environment that facilitates awareness raising about patient safety issues.
Dr. J. Kottahachchi
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