Megan Hardigree, a research associate at Kansas State University working on hand hygiene, writes that this year, Cinco de Mayo wasn’t just a holiday to celebrate the Mexican army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla (yesterday) or a song by the band, Cake. It was also a day to celebrate the launch of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) newest hand hygiene campaign: Save Lives: Clean Your Hands.
The aim of Save Lives: Clean Your Hands is to stop the spread of infection by increasing hand hygiene of healthcare workers. This is said to be the next step of the original, Clean Care is Safer Care, from 2005. The initiative persuades individuals to join the movement with gain-framed messages (they apparently encourage positive behavior) such as “Help stop hospital acquired infections in your country” and “Make patient safety your number one priority.”
To help support this initiative, WHO has accompanied the promotion with a variety of tools and resources to aid healthcare facilities in promoting and enforcing better hand hygiene. These tools include: tools for system change, tools for training and education, tools for evaluation and feedback, tools as reminders in the workplace, and tools for institutional safety climate. My personal favorite, mostly because of the fun diagram, is in the “tools as reminders in the workplace” which includes “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene:”
• before touching a patient;
• before clean/aseptic procedures;
• after body fluid exposure/risk;
• after touching a patient; and,
• after touching patient surroundings.
“Be a part of a global movement to improve hand hygiene, “ says WHO.
Now to evaluate whether any of these messages actually compel people to wash their hands.