Clean Care is Safer Care

Update No 1

27 February 2009

Dear colleagues

I am writing on behalf of the WHO World Alliance for Patient Safety's First Global Patient Safety Challenge to update you on the progress we are making towards the extension to the Challenge programme, which is called SAVE LIVES:Clean Your Hands. We are launching this new initiative on 5 May this year and our aim is two-fold:

  • To have 5000 hospitals registered by 5 May 2010, taking the message of hand hygiene at the point of care to as wide a global health-care audience as possible.
  • To have all WHO member states pledged to hand hygiene by 2010 with country campaigns in place so that the pledge is translated from a country commitment to the individual patient.

The critical nature of health-care infections is such that we must galvanise action and to do this we need your support. Already over 360 hospitals from 57 countries have registered their interest. Registration is simple. Just click here and follow the simple steps outlined.

How can you help

  • By registering your hospital.
  • By inviting other hospitals in your region/country to register as well.
  • By sending us information about progress on introducing hand hygiene that is being made in your hospital/country so that we can profile your good work on the website.

How can we help you?

  • By writing articles and updates for your newsletters and websites to further the spread of information. Just let us know what you need and your deadline, and we will supply the details.
  • By updating the website (as above) on a weekly basis so that you can see the numbers of hospitals registering. We are currently developing a map which will be identify the countries and WHO regions where hospitals register.
  • By updating the hand hygiene implementation toolkit. This will be launched on 5 May 2009.
  • By developing a self assessment framework so that any hospital can assess its preparedness for hand hygiene via a 5-step tool.
  • By launching the new (revised) hand hygiene guidelines on 5 May 2009.
  • By developing hard copies of materials for hospitals in countries where internet access is difficult. This will be done post 5 May.

And finally, a reminder why hand hygiene in health care is so important! At any one time over 1.4 million people worldwide are affected by health-care associated infections (HAI) The risk in developing countries is 2-20 times higher than in developed countries. Globally, there are about 59 million health-care workers = 118 million hands treating and touching patients, up to 15 times a day. These hands can be the mediators of harmful microbes, each touch putting patients lives at risk.

We invite YOUR participation in this new global initiative and look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Yours sincerely
Dr Cyrus Engineer
Project Lead, SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands