World Hand Hygiene Day 2024


1 May 2024

May 5 marks World Hand Hygiene Day, a day to emphasize the importance of good hand hygiene in health care settings and its vital role in infection prevention and control.

Each year, the “SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign” seeks to enhance the concept of a global profile as it applies to the importance of hand hygiene in health care, with a particular emphasis on “bringing people together” in support of hand hygiene globally.

The theme for this year’s campaign is promoting knowledge and capacity building of health and care workers through innovative and impactful training and education on infection prevention and control, including hand hygiene.

Good hand hygiene practices are important in health care because they:

  • Prevent the spread of infections: Infections can easily spread in health care settings. Implementing good hand hygiene practices, including the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers or washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Protect patients/clients, families, and health care providers: Maintaining good hand hygiene reduces the risk of introducing harmful bacteria or viruses and promotes a safer environment for everyone involved.
  • Prevent health care-associated infections (HAIs): HAIs are infections that patients may get while receiving treatment for other conditions in a health care setting. They can result from a variety of factors, including contaminated equipment or surfaces, or the hands of health care workers. Hand hygiene is a critical component of infection prevention and control measures aimed at reducing the spread of HAIs.

Get Involved in Hand Hygiene Day!

Sharing knowledge about hand hygiene is important as it helps stop the spread of infections in health care settings.

There are different ways you can get involved in World Hand Hygiene Day.

Attend a webinar:
The World Health Organization will be offering a webinar on May 6, “Why is sharing knowledge about hand hygiene so important?” Speakers will discuss the need for shared hand hygiene knowledge on a global level, present IPAC success stories, and offer suggestions on what attendees can do to advance hand hygiene knowledge in their area.

Join the conversation online
Follow #WorldHandHygieneDay2024 or #WHHD2024 on social media. Share social posts and join the conversation. The World Health Organization has many resources, including a downloadable digital toolkit to help you show your support and get involved online.

Refresh your knowledge on hand hygiene practices:
Public Health Ontario (PHO) has many resources available to promote hand hygiene and share best-practices in hand hygiene across all health care settings, including:

  •  Four Moments of Hand Hygiene
  • Hand Protection and Care
    • Frequently Asked Questions: Glove Use and Hand Hygiene: Provides answers to common questions health care providers have about glove use and hand hygiene to help reduce hand contamination, prevent cross-contamination and protect from infection.
    • Checklist: How to Protect Your Skin: This self-assessment checklist will teach you how your work and home activities may affect your skin and what steps to take to keep your skin healthy. You can redo the checklist over time to monitor the condition of your skin.
    • Poster: Caring for Your Hands: Provides tips on how to care for your hands at work. Topics include alcohol-based hand rub, gloves, hand lotion and getting help.
  • Hand Hygiene Product Placement
    • At a Glance: Hand Hygiene Product Placement: The purpose of this resource is to ensure that hand hygiene products (alcohol-based hand rub dispensers), liquid soap dispensers, lotion dispensers, paper towel dispensers, glove box holders and waste receptacles) are located where they are needed, visible, within reach, fully stocked and functional. This resource provides considerations for using the following two new checklists and outlines a staff engagement activity to support staff decision-making on the placement of hand hygiene products.
    • Checklist: Hand Hygiene Product Placement Checklist: Patient, Resident or Client and Hallway Area: Considerations to assess the placement of hand hygiene products in order to make them accessible and convenient for health care providers in patient/resident/client care and hallway areas.
    • Checklist: Maintenance of Hand Hygiene Products and Equipment Checklist: Considerations to ensure hand hygiene products are available, functioning and safe for use.
  • Recommended Steps: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): This resource includes a series of posters that demonstrate the proper steps for performing hand hygiene using soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub and for putting on and removing personal PPE (general and with Contact Precautions).
These resources support the implementation of best practice information from the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee’s (PIDAC) Best Practices for Hand Hygiene in all Health Care Settings.

PHO Rounds: Nail Salon Workers Project at Parkdale Queen West Community Health Center (CHC): An example of community-driven public health

This Public Health Ontario (PHO) Rounds describes the progression of the project, illustrating how the CHC model has been leveraged to support public and occupational health through programs and academic partnerships.

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Published 1 May 2024