SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands – ECDC supports World Hand Hygiene Day 2020

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Each year on 5 May, the “SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands” campaign takes place as part of a major global effort led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to improve hand hygiene in healthcare settings. The campaign mobilises people around the world to increase adherence to hand hygiene in all healthcare settings, thus protecting healthcare workers and patients from COVID-19 and healthcare-associated infections by other pathogens.

Healthcare worker washing hands

Healthcare-associated infections, including those caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics, are a growing public health problem in Europe. In fact, 75% of the health burden of infections with bacteria resistant to antibiotics in Europe is due to healthcare-associated infections with these bacteria. However, a large percentage of these infections are preventable by improving hand hygiene practices. Hand hygiene is the ‘single most important measure’ to prevent transmission of bacteria in hospitals and other healthcare settings, according to the World Health Organization.

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands

 “Nurses and Midwives, clean care is in your hands!”: with this slogan, the WHO calls on nurses,  midwives, policymakers, infection prevention and control leaders, patients and families to be inspired by the global movement to take action. ECDC supports this campaign and highlights the importance of infection prevention and control measures as one of the main strategies to tackle the growing threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

Nurses and midwives who play a vital role in providing health services by devoting their lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunisations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs.

COVID-19 pandemic

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand hygiene is one of the most effective actions to reduce the spread of the virus, and nurses and other healthcare workers are in the front line of saving lives from COVID-19 and preventing transmission of the virus in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

More resources

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Healthcare-associated infections – a threat to patient safety in Europe

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Antibiotic resistance – an increasing threat to human health

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