Hand hygiene in surgical settings focus of World Hand Hygiene Day

5 May 2016 | Infection Prevention & Control

'Safe surgical care saves lives' is the theme of this year’s World Hand Hygiene Day on 5 May, coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The theme unites the Health Quality & Safety Commission's hand hygiene and surgical site infection improvement (SSII) programmes by focusing on hand hygiene in surgical settings.

"Health care workers are encouraged to prioritise hand hygiene practices throughout surgical services, right through to the outpatient setting," says Dr Sally Roberts, clinical lead for the Commission’s infection prevention and control programme.

"It's important that hand hygiene practices become the 'norm' for health care workers, regardless of their role within their hospital setting, to support safe patient care."

The WHO’s '5 moments for hand hygiene' require hand hygiene to be performed:

  • before patient contact
  • before a procedure
  • after a procedure
  • after patient contact
  • after contact with a patients surroundings.

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 (HHNZ) audit report for November 2015 to March 2016 shows compliance among many health care worker categories continues to climb.

"Awareness of the importance of hand hygiene is higher, and attitudes and culture around health care workers’ hand hygiene practice is markedly improved," says Dr Roberts.

Hand hygiene compliance by health care workers in New Zealand public hospitals has improved significantly since the HHNZ programme launched in 2008. Nationally, the compliance rate is at 80 percent, up from 62 percent in 2012.

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

The Commission is interested in hearing about World Hand Hygiene Day activities from across the country. DHBs can email photos of their activities to Andrea Flynn.

Last updated 05/05/2016