WHO strategy on hand hygiene is viable and sustainable

The WHO strategy for improving hand hygiene is easily applied by health workers, according to a new study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases. The health care related infections are a major threat to patient safety worldwide, and its transmission in such settings occurs mainly via the hands of healthcare workers.

The WHO strategy was carried out in 55 departments of 43 hospitals in various countries around the world over a period of two years. During this time the observance of best practices increased from 51% before starting the study to 67% after complete it and the infrastructure and staff skills also improved significantly at all sites.

The health care related infections are caused by germs that transmit health professionals to patients when touched. The most common are those affecting the urinary tract, surgical infections, pneumonia and blood infections caused by multi-resistant germs such as methicillin-resistant (MRSA) S. aureus. Of 100 hospitalized patients, they acquire a healthcare-related at least 7 infection in developed countries and 10 in developing countries.

Prevention and infection control is one of the basic policy pillars identified by the WHO to combat the increasingly serious problem of antimicrobial resistance.

The WHO strategy for the observance of hand hygiene consists of five main elements:

  • Ensure that health workers have access to alcohol-based disinfectants at the point of patient care;
  • Train and educate health workers to indicate the time of patient care in that most important is hand hygiene;
  • Assess compliance, and feedback regard;
  • Post visual reminders at the point of care in the workplace;
  • Develop a safety culture patient care and health personnel in institutions.

According to the program Clean Care is Safer Care, during contact with patients must satisfy the requirements of hygiene in five key moments, preferably using a disinfectant containing alcohol or by washing with soap and water if they are clearly dirty. These five stages are:

  • Before touching the patient;
  • Before beginning procedures that require cleaning and aseptic (eg insertion of devices such as catheters);
  • After contact with body fluids;
  • After touching a patient;
  • After touching objects the patient environment

"The WHO strategy for improving hand hygiene is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control in the United States and Europe, the Joint Commission International and accredited bodies, and almost every professional organization in the world" they said Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi and Professor Didier Pittet, both authors of the article and WHO collaborating.

The strategy has been applied so far in more than 15,700 health care settings than 168 countries, and over 50 governments have relied on in national campaigns to promote hand hygiene. This study validates its use as a reference method universal patient care and prevents nosocomial infections.

Source: http://www.who.int/es/