New Delhi: On the World Hand Hygiene Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is highlighting the urgent need for countries in the South-East Asia Region and across the world to rigorously implement hand hygiene at the point of health care delivery, accelerating the progress made throughout the CoVid-19 response. World Hand Hygiene Day is observed on the 5th of May every year aiming to promote the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infection and promoting good health.
The theme of this year’s event is ‘Accelerate action together’ which emphasizes the critical role that strong and engaged communities of health and care workers, policymakers and civil society organizations must play in galvanizing action to prevent infections and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in health care, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said on Friday (May 5). Globally, inadequate hand hygiene at the point of care is a major contributor to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), she said.
Talking about HAIs, Ms. Singh said that they affect an estimated 15 out of every 100 patients in low- and middle-income countries, killing around 1 in every 10 of those affected.
They are a major cause of AMR, which occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
Highlighting the importance of inadequate hand hygiene in health care, she said that it is primarily caused by limited awareness of and access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities.
Globally, 1 in 8 health care facilities has no water service, one in 5 has no sanitation service, and one in 6 has no hand hygiene facilities at the points of care. At present, six countries of the Region ensure that at least 60 per cent of health care facilities provide basic WASH services.
She further informed that since 2016, all countries of the Region have implemented the Region’s Strategy for Patient Safety 2016-2025, which covers all core aspects of quality of care, patient safety and infection prevention and control (IPC). The Strategy is aligned with the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030. Ms. Singh said,
Throughout the COVID-19 response, key stakeholders in the Region participated in an array of WHO-supported IPC training, as well as a Regional consultation aimed at aligning key interventions with the global patient safety action plan.
She also said that on World Hand Hygiene Day, WHO reiterates its commitment to ‘Accelerate action together’, in all countries of the Region, to implement hand hygiene at the point of health care delivery, for fewer HAIs, reduced AMR, and safer, more effective and efficient health care facilities for all.
The history of World Hand Hygiene Day can be traced back to the year 2009 when the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the first Global Patient Safety Challenge, which called for a worldwide commitment to improving the safety of healthcare workers and patients.
The WHO, as part of this initiative, introduced the concept of hand hygiene as a critical component of infection prevention and control and encouraged healthcare facilities to develop and implement comprehensive hand hygiene programs.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.