Achieving Universal Health Coverage is in your HANDS

Poor hand hygiene has been linked to several communicable diseases and tackling it has become one of the central prevention strategies in public health.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year, hundreds of millions of patients around the world are affected by healthcare-associated infections. More than half of these infections could be prevented by caregivers properly cleaning their hands at key moments in patient care.

The concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) embodies providing access to quality healthcare for everyone, everywhere. Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), including Hand Hygiene, is critical to achieving UHC as it is a practical and evidence-based approach with demonstrated impact on the quality of care and patient safety across all levels of the health system

Each year, the world hand hygiene day aims to bring people together in support of hand hygiene improvement globally on May 5th. This year’s theme ‘Clean care for all – it’s in your hands’ reflects a strong focus on providing clean care equally protecting all patients and healthcare workers from infection and antimicrobial resistance transmission, across all countries, including in low-resource settings.

Everyone has a role to play in achieving UHC with hand hygiene as a cornerstone of quality in healthcare; from Ministries of health, Health Facility Leaders, IPC leaders, Health Workers, to the patients themselves.

This World Hand Hygiene Day, the WHO calls on everyone to be inspired by the global movement to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) with the following call-to-action:

  • Health workers: “Champion clean care – it’s in your hands.”
  • IPC leaders: “Monitor infection prevention and control standards – take action and improve practices.”
  • Health facility leaders: “Is your facility up to WHO infection control and hand hygiene standards? Take part in the WHO survey 2019 and take action!”
  • Ministries of health: “Does your country meet infection prevention and control standards? Monitor and act to achieve quality universal health coverage.”
  • Patient advocacy groups: “Ask for clean care – it’s your right.”

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