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Preventing the spread of infection through good hand hygiene

This section includes guidance, resources, and quality improvement frameworks to support your organisation to make positive, sustainable change to hand hygiene practice. It is also the gateway to the hand hygiene auditing application (HHCApp) and online training resources.

Good hand hygiene is one of the simplest, most effective ways to prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections, which makes it a key patient safety priority.

Since 2012, the Health Quality & Safety Commission has led Hand Hygiene New Zealand (HHNZ), a national quality improvement programme to improve hand hygiene practice in Te Whatu Ora districts and private surgical hospitals throughout Aoteaora New Zealand.

The programme is part of the Commission’s infection prevention and control programme, which aims to reduce the harm and cost of healthcare-associated infections.

HHNZ uses the World Health Organization’s (WHO) multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy to drive culture change and establish best hand hygiene practice for every patient, every time.

Frontline ownership is critical to the success of this strategy, in that it allows frontline staff to implement and drive change within their own clinical areas to support improvement.

Over the past 10 years, hospital health care staff have greatly improved their hand hygiene performance and, since 2015, have consistently exceeded the current national compliance rate of 80 percent.

In 2022, the Commission reviewed the HHNZ programme, which included a stakeholder survey, literature review and horizon scan. The findings from this review will guide the shape of the programme in 2023.

If you have any questions about HHNZ please email

Last updated: 17th January, 2023