Why is sharing information about hand hygiene still so important?

28 February, 2024

The World Health Organisation's (WHO's) 5 May 2024 World Hand Hygiene Day campaign is all about knowledge and the importance of sharing knowledge about hand hygiene. This is a matter that remains relevant to everyone committed to saving lives and reducing suffering by improving the availability and use of reliable healthcare information.

It's now the middle of February and I thank HIFA for the opportunity to share new resources launched for World Hand Hygiene Day, 5 May 2024. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hand-hygiene-day/world-hand-hygiene-...

WHO this year is asking colleagues to be aware of and familiar with these resources and where possible, to get ready to catalyze action to raise awareness and keep hand hygiene firmly on the agenda as one part of keeping people safe from avoidable infection in health care.

The campaign provides materials to support people to advocate for and communicate on this issue that is relevant not just to infection preventionists, but actually to us all - health and care workers, policy and decision makers, alongside the public.

Share knowledge and accurate information on why hand hygiene is still so important to help stop the spread of harmful germs in health care.

Key reasons for this - progress is slow, and gains are at risk as in 2021, only four out of 106 countries (3.8%) had all WHO minimum requirements for infection prevention and control (IPC) in place at the national level. In multiple WHO surveys, training and education was the weakest component of IPC programmes around the world both at the national and facility level; thus the theme for 5 May 2024. WHO also highlights that training of health workers, for example to clean their hands, without providing them with monitoring feedback, an enabling environment, including WASH services, reminders and a supportive culture cannot result in a sustainable impact. Health care associated infections continue to be among the most frequent adverse events occurring in the context of health service delivery - 136 million cases of health care-associated antibiotic resistant infections occur worldwide every year.

The WHO IPC Unit and Hub has launched a number of resources for World Hand Hygiene Day, 5 May 2024 - why is hand hygiene still important? On the main campaign web page you can now find the main poster in all UN languages, four target audience posters and a short teaser video in English (coming soon in all languages) and web, newsletter and email banners https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hand-hygiene-day/world-hand-hygiene-...

These resources can be shared widely and anyone can join the campaign. Thanks to HIFA members for considering how best to support World Hand Hygiene Day 2024. I would be interested in hearing any examples of this.

Best wishes


HIFA profile: Julie Storr has over a decade of experience working for WHO on the development, implementation and evaluation of global improvement programmes in the field of patient safety, quality and infection prevention and control, with a focus on behaviour change. Her current work spans two WHO units – quality Universal Health Coverage and Global Infection Prevention and Control (IPC). Her technical and leadership expertise was called on to support WHO’s Ebola response and recovery efforts in 2014/15, with a focus on national IPC policy development in Sierra Leone. She led on the development of the recently published evidence based WHO Guidelines on the Core Components of Infection Prevention and Control Programmes at the National and Acute Health Care Facility Level. She was previously President of the Infection Prevention Society of the UK and Ireland, Assistant Director at the English National Patient Safety Agency and Director of the seminal cleanyourhands campaign. Julie has authored a book (Perspectives and Perceptions of IPC – highly commended at the 2016 BMA Medical Book Awards), published widely in the academic literature and is peer reviewer of a range of academic journals including Implementation Science, and on the international advisory board of the Journal of Infection Prevention. She is currently studying for a doctorate in public health (health care leadership and management) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. @hifa_org




storrju AT who.int