Hand Hygiene Day: Practicing hand hygiene saves lives – Expert

Dr Nkolika Uwaezuoke, the Head of Department, Medical Microbiology, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jabi in Abuja, says practicing hand hygiene reduces mortality, morbidity, hospital stay and most importantly, saves lives.

She said this on Friday in Abuja during the hospital’s celebration of the 2023 World Hand Hygiene Day (WHHD) with the theme “Accelerate Action Together: SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) set aside May 5 every year to promote and raise awareness about

hand hygiene globally.

The day aims to mobilise people around the world to increase adherence to hand hygiene in healthcare facilities, thus protecting workers and patients

from infections.

This year campaign theme — “SAVE LIVES: Clean your hands”, is aligned with the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and aims to recognise

nurses and midwives as frontline heroes who deserve acknowledgment and appreciation, and highlight their critical roles in infection prevention.

Uwaezuoke, therefore, said hand hygiene had been identified and proven to be the singular most important practice that reduces the transmission and spread of disease.

To this end, she said, it helps in preventing Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI).

She added that “non-practising of hand hygiene can lead to transmission of infections within the hospital; it is not just the patient, as it spreads from one person to the other.

“So, it is important that WHO has to dedicate a day to increase awareness on hand washing and hygiene. The day is set aside to create awareness on hand hygiene and when we say hand hygiene, we are talking essentially of two things.

“Hand washing using running tap water, and where you don’t have tap water, you use what we call Veronika buckets, which are plastic pockets with taps.

“The second is the use of alcohol-based hand drops, commonly known as hand sanitisers.”

She also said that hand hygiene is so important that healthcare workers are encouraged to practice because by so doing, they reduce the rate of transmission of infection within the hospital setting.

On the campaign objectives of the day, she said it is aimed at strengthening communities of actors in healthcare to accelerate action to improve hand hygiene and infection prevention and control at point of care.

She added that the hand hygiene campaign would also foster collaboration toward minimising the risk of infections and the development of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in healthcare.

The Deputy Head of the hospital’s Clinical Services, Dr Christopher Omage, who spoke on the theme of the celebration, said that the aim was to beam searchlight on teamwork as one person could not achieve it.

He said “the essence is to promote team work; involving hospital staff and the public to be aware that by just cleaning your hand, you can actually prevent the transmission of most diseases.

“Hospital staff should also be conscious at all times to ensure that they wash their hands to curtail the spread of infections.’’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria