Southern DHB promotes World Hand Hygiene Day

Southern DHB calls for healthcare staff and members of the public to help save lives by always cleaning their hands.

It’s World Hand Hygiene Day on Sunday 5 May and Southern DHB is encouraging healthcare staff and members of the public to help save lives by always cleaning their hands.

World Hand Hygiene day, an initiative from the World Health Organisation (WHO) aimed at improving health and well being for everyone, is on Sunday 5 May. This year’s call to action is ‘Clean care for all – it’s in your hands’.

Around 500,000 people contract a healthcare associated infection every day according to estimates from the World Health Organisation (more than 182 million people every year), and an estimated two out of five people don’t comply with the five moments of hand hygiene.

“Hand hygiene isn’t just important in the hospital. It helps stop the spread of germs at home, at school and in the workplace. Effective hand washing and drying is the best way to reduce infections,” said Southern DHB infection, prevention and control charge nurse manager, Jo Stodart.

Throughout next week, the DHB’s Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) team will be raising awareness of good personal hand hygiene.

There will be displays at Dunedin and Southland Hospital explaining the importance of handwashing, as well as messages on the staff intranet, Southern DHBs Facebook page, and on the TV screens in Dunedin Hospital.

At Dunedin Hospital staff and the public will be able to see how many germs are really on their hands, using glo-germ gel, which highlights any dirt or bacteria under a UV light before and after washing their hands.

“We’re encouraging all our healthcare workers to use World Hand Hygiene Day as an opportunity to refresh their hand hygiene knowledge and re-pledge to make it a priority,” said Southern DHB quality & risk manager, Tina Gilbertson.

“Hand hygiene represents one of the most important measures in the fight against healthcare associated infections, making it a key patient safety issue.”

Figures reported by the Health Safety and Quality Commission show Southern DHB has achieved or exceeded the target of 80 per cent hand hygiene compliance in the Hand Hygiene New Zealand (HHNZ) audit since 2015.

“Our message is to wash your hands often and in the correct way, and encourage everyone around you to do the same. We also encourage patients and whānau to ask their health care worker to clean their hands – it’s their right.”

Five moments of hand hygiene

WHO has provided the My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene approach, which defines the key moments when health-care workers should perform hand hygiene.

This evidence-based, field-tested, user-centred approach is designed to be easy to learn, logical and applicable in a wide range of settings.

This approach recommends healthcare workers to clean their hands

  • Before patient contact
  • Before a procedure
  • After a procedure or body fluid exposure risk
  • After patient contact
  • After contact with patient surroundings

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