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New Zealand to participate in international survey for World Hand Hygiene Day

Infection prevention and control
02 May 2019

New Zealand has an opportunity to participate in a global survey to assess infection prevention and control programmes in health care facilities as part of World Hand Hygiene Day on 5 May.

The survey, coordinated by the World Health Organization, aims to encourage local assessments of infection prevention, and to understand the progress of current hand hygiene activities around the world.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission will be using this data to inform future improvement initiatives in New Zealand.

‘This is a wonderful opportunity for New Zealand health care providers to compare the performance of their facilities with the WHO infection control and hand hygiene standards, while also participating in a global survey on infection prevention,’ says Dr Sally Roberts, clinical lead for the Commission’s infection prevention and control programme.

The theme of the day aligns with the aim of the Commission's national hand hygiene programme, which is to demonstrate how important infection prevention and hand hygiene are for quality care.

‘Cleaning of hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs; we learn this message early in our lives. Hand hygiene is as powerful as it is simple, and nowhere more so than in healthcare,’ says Dr Roberts.

World Hand Hygiene Day also provides an opportunity for health care workers to celebrate hand hygiene achievements to date.

The latest Hand Hygiene New Zealand audit report by the Commission for November 2018 - March 2019 shows compliance among many health care worker categories continues to climb.

‘Awareness of the importance of hand hygiene is higher, and engagement with improving hand hygiene compliance continues to grow,’ says Dr Roberts.

Hand hygiene compliance by health care workers in New Zealand public hospitals has improved significantly since the hand hygiene programme was launched. Nationally, the compliance rate is 85 percent, up from 62 percent in 2012.

The Commission is distributing new hand hygiene posters to hospitals involved in the programme for World Hand Hygiene Day. The posters can be downloaded here, and a toolkit with suggested activities can be found here

More information about World Hand Hygiene Day can be found on the World Health Organization website.