Infection prevention and control

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands 5 May 2018

It’s in your hands – prevent sepsis in health care

WHO calls on health facilities to prevent health care-associated sepsis through hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC) action. Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide. At the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017, Member States adopted a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

Health care-associated infections, infections acquired during health care delivery, are common and are a risk factor for developing sepsis but we can prevent this. Effective hand hygiene plays a key role. On world hand hygiene day (5 May), the focus for everyone should be on prevention of sepsis in health care.

5 May 2018 calls to action

  • Health workers: “Take 5 Moments to clean your hands to prevent sepsis in health care."
  • IPC leaders: “Be a champion in promoting hand hygiene to prevent sepsis in health care.”
  • Health facility leaders: "Prevent sepsis in health care, make hand hygiene a quality indicator in your hospital.”
  • Ministries of health: "Implement the 2017 WHA sepsis resolution. Make hand hygiene a national marker of health care quality."
  • Patient advocacy groups: "Ask for 5 Moments of clean hands to prevent sepsis in health care."

Resources for 5 May 2018

Infographic: How to prevent sepsis - the role you can play in health care and communities


A banner that can be used on your web pages or in newsletters.

Photograph promotional board

For social media messaging, WHO will be using both #handhygiene and #sepsis – remember to join the conversation on 5 May.

Social media

Use these resources for social media postings or to print as stickers.


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