Message from Professor Didier Pittet
Since the First Challenge initiative began in 2005, 131 WHO Member States and autonomous areas have pledged their support. As of May 2013, over 15 700 health-care facilities have committed to improve hand hygiene. This represents approximately 9 million health-care workers and more than 3.9 million patient-beds, an unprecedented achievement. Our efforts and those of health-care workers in these facilities must now be directed towards sustaining improvements and thereby reducing health care-associated infections and patient suffering.
Every year, these infections affects hundreds of millions of patients around the globe; people die or are considerably affected by diseases such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, and other severe infections acquired during patient care. By cleaning their hands, health-care workers can help prevent such diseases and contribute to reducing the global burden. The WHO multimodal strategy for hand hygiene which is explained on this website, demonstrates how and why diseases spread and what can be done to promote change.
Encouraging hospitals and health-care facilities to adopt the WHO 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene will contribute to a greater awareness and understanding of the importance of hand hygiene. Our vision for the next decade is to encourage this awareness and to promote the need for improved compliance and sustainability in hand hygiene practice at the point of patient care.
Professor Didier Pittet
Director, Infection Control Programme, University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine
External Programme Lead, WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care