Clean Care is Safer Care

Private Organizations for Patient Safety (POPS)

With the aim of working with private industry companies, who in particular focus on hand hygiene related products in the first instance, the WHO Clean Care is Safer Care programme launched Private Organisation for Patient Safety (POPS) in May 2012. This took place on the occasion of the WHO SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands annual celebration after a number of years spent establishing this collaborative model and calling for interested parties to 'sign up'. POPS is managed under a password protected web based platform to allow proactive interaction with any committed private industry companies, such as manufacturers and distributors of products for hand hygiene, and holds face-to-face meetings at WHO HQ at defined times in a year. This all allows for a coherent and equitable means of sharing information and for progressing the altruistic aim of the collaborative.

The long term aim is to harness industry strengths to align and improve implementation of WHO recommendations in different parts of the world, including in least developed countries. The goal of the collaboration is to benefit patients, and not the participants in the platform. The expected public health benefits from working together with industry will be a reduction in health-care associated infections through improvements in hand hygiene, based on the overall aim of the WHO Clean Care is Safer Care Programme.

Based on the evidence from the WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in healthcare (2009), the focus is therefore on:

  • Increasing education and awareness on the importance of hand hygiene in health care;
  • Improving access to commodities (alcohol-based handrub, water, soap, towels).

Every year, WHO also needs support to ensure its annual campaign SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands has an ongoing global impact. Participants of POPS provide a lot of energy and innovation to spread the word on the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign and the WHO 'My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene', as per WHO recommendations. The range of activities that are undertaken in support of WHO every 5 May are to be commended and include: preparation of posters and other promotional materials, issue of thousands of pledge cards promoting the WHO 5 Moments to health-care facilities in many countries, the issue of press releases and messages through social media including Twitter, Facebook and other blogs, revised training materials and running of events. This terrific support and drive going on throughout the year is to be commended.

Reports of POPS meetings (in the lead up to launch of the collaborative)

How to be part of POPS

The intention is to facilitate widest participation possible. However, in order to participate in this platform, an interested party must meet the following criteria to ensure that their work upholds principles and values acceptable to WHO:

  • Be a company involved in developing, manufacturing, and/or distributing products for hand hygiene, or be an umbrella association representing such companies (participation by developing country manufacturers is particularly encouraged)
  • Agree to sign up to the code of conduct detailed below
  • Agree to contribute to the WHO objective of advancing public health
  • Agree to make the entity's hand hygiene products (e.g. ABHR) available and accessible to the public sector of least developed countries and to the public sector of other developing countries in accordance with the WHO's commitment to affordable health care for all
  • Agree (i) to ensure that the active ingredients in the entity's hand hygiene products meet national requirements in the country of manufacture and WHO recommended criteria as published in WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care (e.g. in terms of alcohol concentration), (ii) to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards, and (iii) to have auditable quality management systems
  • Agree to actively participate in the web based forum
  • Agree to collaborate with WHO in a manner consistent with the Organization's Guidelines on Interaction with Commercial Enterprises, including by refraining from using the WHO name and emblem for commercial or promotional purposes.

WHO retains the right to terminate an entity's participation in the platform if any of the above mentioned conditions are not respected.

Benefits of being part of POPS

The following benefits are expected to arise from the platform:

  • Member States
    • Reduced HAI burden through improved hand hygiene
    • ABHR availability, more awareness on the need to reduce HAI
    • Possible spin-offs through improved infrastructure, such as clean water and general improvements in hygiene.
  • WHO
    • Private sector aligned with WHO goal of reducing HAI
    • Promotion of hand hygiene products aligned with WHO messages on hand hygiene and control of HAI
    • Continuous exchange of information and knowledge sharing on reducing HAI facilitated
    • Low resource settings provided with access to hand hygiene products and with support for infrastructure and educational development projects.
  • Industry
    • Easy access to guidance from WHO on quality, correct messages, etc
    • Right to use the copyrighted slogan
    • Enhance corporate image
    • Easy access to information on global ABHR availability
    • Easy access to other relevant information on hand hygiene, ABHR and other hand hygiene related products.