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Hand hygiene: a global call to action

Date: 5 May 2009
Place: Geneva, Switzerland

On 5 May 2009, WHO will highlight the critical importance of good hand hygiene in patient care with a global call to action to help reduce health care-associated infections. WHO will launch the finalized hand hygiene guidelines and announce a new vision for improving hand hygiene. These are based on the theme "Save lives: clean your hands" as an extension of the First Global Patient Safety Challenge.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world are invited to locally develop their own activities, some of which will be presented at a 2-day technical meeting in Geneva via video links. Countries where hand hygiene campaigns are already active will contribute to the meeting and discuss future options, including the formation of a global network where improvements in hand hygiene, compliance and sustainability can be highlighted and promoted.

As of April 2009, 117 countries have pledged support for WHO’s efforts on hand hygiene. More than 30 countries have developed their own campaigns to promote hand hygiene at the point of care and more are currently being established. Pilot test sites have been set up in all six WHO regions to test the strategies developed.

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