World Hand Hygiene Day 2021
Every year World Hand Hygiene Day is celebrated on May 05, 2021. On this day World Health Organization (WHO) organizes various awareness camps. It encourages patients and their friends and family members to join and support healthcare workers in their efforts to follow good hand hygiene.
WHO and various other health care organizations say that due to poor hand hygiene, millions of patients all over the world are getting attacked by multiple diseases every year. If we maintain good hand hygiene, more than half of these health ailments can be prevented by caregivers properly sanitizing their hands during inpatient care.
Hand hygiene means cleaning your hands by using water or another liquid, or with the help of soap, for removing soil, dirt, and microorganisms. Medical hand hygiene refers to the administration of medicine and medical practices that prevent or minimize the spread of diseases. The main reason for handwashing is to clean your hands and remove pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals that might cause mild to severe illnesses.
Hand hygiene is very important for people, particularly those who manage food items or work in the medical field. However, the general public should also practice proper hand hygiene for good health. If you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands, you may be infected with some of the common respiratory diseases like influenza or the common cold.
Hand Hygiene & COVID19
The year 2021 is unprecedented in several ways; huge attention is given to proper hand hygiene habits to fight against COVID19. Finally, hand hygiene has gained global recognition from health care workers and as well as the general public, which plays a crucial role in infection prevention. The WHO increased focus and creating awareness among every individual on hand hygiene to handle the global COVID-19 pandemic. This year WHO came up with the slogan Seconds save lives – clean your hands! and putting its efforts into Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme.
In the context of the COVID pandemic, many health organizations around the world launched several campaigns to educate people on how to improve hand hygiene practices consistently to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and sustain good habits beyond this pandemic. To achieve the goal government and other organizations should take responsibility for providing adequate infrastructures like face masks, sanitisers, and hand gloves in health care and public settings like schools and public transportations.
The first requirement for implementing effective hand hygiene practice is “system change,” which means proper facilities and supplies should be available so that health workers keep their hands clean promptly when required. This requires good-quality alcohol-based sanitisers, clean water, soap, and tissues. World Health Organisation states that all healthcare facilities need to maintain minimum requirements for effective infection prevention and control (IPC).
The 2020 global WASH survey exposed that 1 in every 3 health care provinces are not having adequate hand hygiene facilities at the point of care. A recent study in low-income countries revealed that hand hygiene compliance is very low, i.e., around 9% while caring for critically ill patients. Such statistics in the ongoing pandemic highlights the critical need for extra efforts to improve global hand hygiene practices. Though vaccines are being delivered effectively, hand hygiene and personal protective equipment still play a crucial role in preventing the pandemic for both COVID and non-COVID people.
Efficient hand hygiene practices help to reduce the strain of numerous health problems and also develop antimicrobial resistance. It is the primary IPC measure for safe COVID19 vaccination. Alcohol-based hand rub is the most preferred way to maintain good hand hygiene in health care institutes because ABHR kills microorganisms within 20–30 seconds and doesn’t harm your skin. Because of shortage, many countries encouraging local ABHR production as an alternative with low-cost following the WHO-recommended formulations.
Our healthcare professionals and other staff at Premier Hospital strictly following hand hygiene measures, and we also sanitize our entire hospital daily. As a part of Social responsibility, we are also counselling patients who come to the hospital to maintain hand hygiene and wear a mask. We are educating people on how optimal hand hygiene can save their lives and the people surrounding them.
We urge everyone who knows the importance of hand hygiene to educate people around you and help them stay safe from COVID19.
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Santosh Kumar Paila