a person washing their hands to maintain hygiene

World Hand Hygiene Day 2022

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World Hand Hygiene Day, observed every year on May 5, mobilizes people all over the world to improve hand hygiene in health care institutions, thereby protecting health care personnel and patients from illnesses. SAVE LIVES: CLEAN YOUR HANDS is a global initiative that began in 2009 and is commemorated every year on May 5th.

People at all levels must believe in the necessity of hand hygiene and IPC to save lives in health facilities, by participating as important players in developing the necessary behaviors and attitudes toward it. In other words, all levels of healthcare employees, as well as people who visit healthcare institutions, must work together to ensure that everyone has clean hands.

When a health facility’s “quality and safety environment or culture” prioritizes hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC), both patients and staff feel safe and cared for.

The Theme of World Hand Hygiene Day 2022

The theme for this year’s World Hand Hygiene Day is Unite for safety: clean your hands” which recognizes that cleaning our hands can contribute to a facility’s climate or culture of safety and quality, as well as that a strong quality and safety culture will encourage people to clean their hands at the right times and with the right products.

The goal of World Hand Hygiene Day is to maintain worldwide hand hygiene promotion, visibility, and sustainability in health care, as well as to “bring people together” in support of hand hygiene improvement around the world.

Key times when you should wash your hands include:

  • After using the toilet or changing a child’s nappy.
  • Before and after handling raw foods like vegetables and meat.
  • Before handling or eating food.
  • After coughing, blowing your nose, or sneezing,
  • Before and after treating a wound or cut.
  • After touching animals, including pets, their food, and after cleaning their cages.

To boost progress, governments should prioritize 5 key actions:

  • Good governance, including clear regulations on handwashing services and behaviors in all contexts, is achieved through strong leadership, effective coordination, and regulation.
  • Effective public finance to maximize impact and boost the private sector and household investment.
  • Assessing present capacity in terms of hand hygiene policies and procedures, identifying gaps, and developing capacity-building initiatives based on rigorous application of best practices.
  • In order to inform decision-making and make strategic investments, governments should address the need for uniform statistics on hand hygiene.
  • In order to implement hand hygiene in all contexts, governments and supporting agencies should stimulate innovation, notably in the commercial sector.

Let’s all unite, talk and work together on hand hygiene for high quality safer care everywhere. Happy World Hand Hygiene Day!


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