Clean Care is Safer Care

About SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands


As part of a major global effort to improve hand hygiene in health care, led by WHO to support health-care workers, the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands annual global campaign was launched in 2009 and is a natural extension of the WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care work.

The campaign aims to galvanise action at the point of care to demonstrate that hand hygiene is the entrance door for reducing health care-associated infection and patient safety. It also aims to demonstrate the world's commitment to this priority area of health care.

WHO's role includes encouraging engagement and action to maintain this global movement. Numbers are a great awareness-raising mechanism, as demonstrated by the growing number of health-care facilities registered for SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands after two years of a call to action, but they are not the end point. Sustaining the efforts to improve patient safety requires dedicated action and innovation both of which are now more crucial than ever. WHO have appreciated receiving communications about country and health-care facility activities. Action must continue; use the WHO tools to support your actions.


WHO SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands annual initiative is part of a major global effort led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to support health-care workers to improve hand hygiene in health care and thus support the prevention of often life threatening HAI.

This initiative is part of the WHO Patient Safety First Global Patient Safety Challenge, ‘Clean Care is Safer Care’ programme aimed at reducing HAI worldwide, which was launched in October 2005. The clear and central feature of Clean Care is Safer Care thus far has been to target efforts on the importance of clean hands in health care. The programme has galvanised action at many levels including, as of April 2012, 127 Ministers of Health having pledged commitment to reducing HAI and to support the work of WHO. Over 40 countries and areas have also started hand hygiene campaigns during this time.

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands was deemed a natural next phase of the Clean Care is Safer Care programme, moving the call to action from a country pledge of commitment to the point of patient care. The central core of SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands is that all health-care workers should clean their hands at the right time and in the right way.

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands incorporates a global annual day to focus on the importance of improving hand hygiene in health care with WHO providing support for these efforts. A suite of hand hygiene improvement tools and materials have been created from a base of existing research and evidence and from rigorous testing, as well as working closely with a range of experts in the field. The tools aim to help the translation into practice of a multimodal strategy for improving and sustaining hand hygiene in health care.

Key Measures for Prevention and Control of Ebola Virus Disease

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands promotional video

Key documents

WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care (revised Aug 2009)

Guide to implementation of the WHO multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy (revised Aug 2009)

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