Clean Care is Safer Care

Update No 8

7 May 2009

Dear colleagues

5 May 2009

This week has been an incredibly busy one for everyone working in the health sector in many countries throughout the world, particularly those where an outbreak of the influenza A (H1N1) has occurred. And yet, many of you have been able to acknowledge 5 May as a special day on which to highlight and promote the critical importance of hand hygiene in reducing health care-associated infections. Our warm congratulations to everyone for your tremendous work. Many of you also dialled in to listen to the webinar presented by Professor Didier Pittet. The First Patient Safety Challenge was also represented in Paris when the French Minister of Health signed the pledge, making France the 120th country to commit itself to reducing health-care associated infections.

Latest registration figures

We are delighted to report that the latest registration figures are 4904 hospitals/healthcare facilities from 116 countries, representing 3.777 million staff and more than 1.5million beds. Our aim was to achieve 5000 registrations by this time next year. We believe we can now aim for twice that by 5 May 2010.

Post 5 May 2009

Critically for us all, the work must go on. The revised tools on the new website are now there to help you in your own countries and in your own facilities, to develop programmes or extend existing ones. You will notice that there is a video clip that you can use as an opening statement about hand hygiene and which has been translated into all WHO languages. You will also see a screen saver amongst the suite of tools that you can download and use in your facilities. The newly launched WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care are now available on the website. These contain the important facts and the science on which hand hygiene best practice is based. In the current environment when infection control is paramount, we need to use our combined resources to ensure the key messages of correct hand hygiene at the point of care are well communicated. Our ability to establish a long-term network of countries where hand hygiene campaigns are operating will be important to raise global awareness and to encourage new countries to participate. Many countries will be looking for the revised tools as translations. This work will be underway shortly and we anticipate having French translations completed first. It is probably this will take some time, at least three months.

Next steps towards 5 May 2010

The next few months will be busy as we consolidate the work that has been done to date and continue to develop the database of countries, facilities and organizations enthusiastic about promoting best practice in hand hygiene. We will continue to send out regular updates and information will also be regularly posted on the new website.

Ongoing communications

We want to thank everyone personally for the wonderful way in which countries, facilities and individuals have responded to our call to action. The path is now clear for us to continue. Programme Manager, Claire Kilpatrick on behalf of the WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge team will be coordinating the next phase. We invite you to encourage other facilities to maintain the momentum of hand hygiene at the point of care. It is such a critical message. Please continue to use the email for all ongoing contact.

Yours sincerely
SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands project team