Hand Hygiene Day Is Being Celebrated Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The main goal of the Global Hand Hygiene Day campaign is to recognize that handwashing is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infection.

Celebrated every year on 5 May, Hand Hygiene Day mobilizes people around the world to increase adherence to hand hygiene in health care facilities, thus protecting health care 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, and aims to recognize nurses and midwives as front-line heroes who deserve acknowledgement and appreciation, and highlight their critical roles in infection prevention.

2020 Campaign Objectives

The main goal of the Global Hand Hygiene Day campaign is to recognize that handwashing is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. Health workers and community members alike can play a role in preventing infections by practicing regular and frequent handwashing.

As part of the 2020 campaign, WHO and partners aim to:

  • Make hand hygiene a global priority
  • Inspire hand hygiene and behavior change
  • Engage with health care workers in their role in clean care and the prevention of infections.

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. The campaign also contributes to the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Call to Action on WASH in health care facilities.

What is the right way to wash hands?

Take some soap and create lather. Clean the back of your hands, in between your fingers, the end of your fingers, thumb, palms, wrist and the top of your hand again. Rinse the soap from your hands. Turn off the tap with a tissue to prevent cross-contamination. Discard the tissue in a bin. It should take you around 20 seconds to wash your hands properly (sing the Happy Birthday song twice if you like!).

In case you are travelling, make sure to keep a good-quality alcohol-based hand sanitiser with you. This can be as effective as washing hands with soap and water.

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