Multimodal Strategy to Improve Hand Hygiene

The World Health Organization has been doing research on ways to improve compliance with hand hygiene worldwide since 2010.

From highly industrialized nations to rural Africa, the experts at the WHO have resources, toolkits, and education for educators and influencers.

Their “calls to action” are designed for:

  • Health care workers
  • Infection control and prevention leaders
  • Health facility leaders
  • Ministries of health (especially critical in less developed nations)
  • Patient advocacy groups

The message is simple: Save Lives: Clean Your Hands

May 5

Each May 5 since 2010, the WHO has started a new campaign to emphasize a different aspect of infection prevention and related patient safety measures. This year’s emphasis is sepsis. The organization developed tools to teach health professionals how to prevent healthcare associated infection (HAI), and, once an infection occurs, preventing its progression to sepsis.  WHO research demonstrates a 50% reduction in HAI when workers follow the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene

May 5 Campaigns

Each annual campaign includes free resource material, Webinars, toolkits and evidence-based recommendations for implementation.

  • 2010: 5 Moments; Hand Hygiene Moment 1
  • 2011: Track your progress, plan actions and aim for sustainability
  • 2012: Create an action plan based on your facility’s results
  • 2013: Celebrate successes and include patients
  • 2014: No action today, no cure tomorrow; using the 5 Moments to combat resistant germs
  • 2015: A year of activities to support SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands
  • 2016: Improving hand hygiene practice in all surgical services through the continuum of care
  • 2017: Fight antibiotic resistance: it’s in your hands
  • 2018: It’s in your hands: prevent sepsis in health care

Evidence-based recommendations

The WHO has used every opportunity from these annual campaigns to collect data and test implementation strategies in a variety of healthcare environments.  As a result, they have published their research and guidelines; all WHO publications are free to download. Their areas of focus include:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Injection safety
  • Focus on antimicrobial resistance
  • Surgical site infection
  • Core components for infection prevention and control
  • Other interventions, identified by the PROHIBIT team (Prevention of Hospital Infections by Intervention and Training, funded by the European Union)

In addition to the formal recommendations, WHO also provides downloadable posters and infographics that convey information graphically and can be posted for access by all healthcare workers.