World Hand Hygiene Day is observed globally every year on 5th May by the World Health Organization (WHO). This day aims at creating awareness on hand hygiene and to provide effective hand hygiene practices to achieve better health and well-being.
Who’s the Father of Hand Hygiene?
Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor known as the father of hand hygiene, discovered the power of hand-washing in 1847 and now, the medical field recognizes washing hands with soap and water are the best way to prevent, control and reduce infection.
Hand Hygiene 2020: WHO Calls for Action
The theme for the year 2020 is “SAVE LIVES: Clean your hands” and WHO has aligned with the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. On this day, WHO aims to recognize nurses and midwives as front-line heroes because they deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated, especially of the critical roles they play in infection prevention, like COVID-19.
The world needs about 9 million more nurses and midwives to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. Here’s the action call:
- Nurses: “Clean and safe care starts with you”
- Midwives: “Your hands make all the difference for mothers and babies”
- Policy Makers: “Increase nurse staffing levels to prevent infections and improve quality of care. Create the means to empower nurses and midwives”
- IPC Leaders: “Empower nurses and midwives in providing clean care”
- Patients and Families: “Safer care for you, with you”
Nurses and midwives play a crucial role in providing health services. They devote their lives in caring for mothers and children,providing immunizations, giving health advice, looking after the elderly, also meeting everyday essential health needs. During the 2020 campaign, WHO and partners aim to:
- Make hand hygiene a global priority
- Inspire hand hygiene and behavior change
- Engage with healthcare workers in their role in clean care and the prevention of infections.
Hand Hygiene during COVID-19 Pandemic
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread like wildfire to more than 200 countries. Good hygiene practices like washing hands, keeping the house clean can help you wipe out the deadly virus.
Keep the following critical times in mind and wash your hands immediately to prevent the spread of germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before and after eating food
- Before and after caring for a sick person
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After using the toilet
- After handling pets
- After touching garbage
Simple Steps to Wash Your Hands
- Step 1: Wet hands and apply soap well, then rub hands together
- Step 2Rub the back of both hands
- Step 3: Interlace fingers and rub hands together
- Step 4: Interlock fingers and rub the back of fingers of both hands
- Step 5: Rub thumb in a rotating manner followed by the area between the index fingers and thumb for both hands
- Step 6: Rub fingertips on the palm of both hands. Dry hands thoroughly with a clean towel.
Here are a few hand cleansing agents that you could use:
- Detergents like soaps can remove transient contaminants
- Antimicrobial agents, ex. Chlorhexidine
- Antiseptic surgical scrubs, ex. Betadine
Frequently washing hands with soap and water can protect against COVID-19. Parents should help children inculcate such habits early so that they can grow into healthy adults.
Clean care can save lives. Washing your hands with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer is one of the best ways to stay safe during this pandemic. By doing this, we not only protect ourselves, but we also play a crucial role in stopping the spread of infections to others.
Along with doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers, let us come together on this World Hand Hygiene Day and pledge clean hands to flatten the coronavirus curve.
To stop the spread of the virus – #StayHome #StayClean #StayHealthy