May 5, 2020

Hand hygiene critical to prevent COVID-19 — WHO

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WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says hand hygiene is one of the most effective actions to reduce the spread of pathogens and the COVID-19 virus.

WHO made this known on Tuesday in a statement posted on its website to commemorate the Global Hand Hygiene Day, celebrated yearly on May 5.

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According to WHO, the main goal of the Global Hand Hygiene Day campaign is to recognise that handwashing is one of the most effective actions an individual can take.

“This is to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus,” it said.

Hand Hygiene Day mobilises people around the world to increase adherence to hand hygiene in healthcare facilities, thus protecting healthcare workers and patients from infections.

“This year, the campaign theme: “SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands”, is aligned with the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

“It aims to recognise nurses and midwives as frontline heroes who deserve acknowledgment and appreciation and highlight their critical roles in infection prevention.

“Health workers and community members alike can play a role in preventing infections by practicing regular and frequent handwashing,” it said.

As part of the 2020 campaign, WHO and partners aim to make hand hygiene a global priority, inspire hand hygiene and behaviour change.

Also, engage with healthcare workers in their role in clean care and the prevention of infections.

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“The campaign also makes a call to action to policy-makers to provide safe work environments for nurses and improve staffing levels.

“Additionally, it calls on infection prevention and control leaders to empower nurses and midwives in providing clean care,” it said.

WHO said the campaign also contributes to the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Call to Action on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities.