Clean Care is Safer Care

Update No 12

8 September 2009

Dear colleagues

Last month, WHO Patient Safety hosted a two day technical meeting in Geneva for representatives from countries where hand hygiene campaigns are already operating. The newsletter this month gives you a snapshot of the meeting and some of the discussions that took place. But first, Save Lives: Clean Your Hands is gearing up to raise the registrations ahead of May 2010 .....

10,000 for 2010

It's our new catchcry. By 5 May this year, we had tipped the 5000 mark for hospitals and facilities worldwide to celebrate improvements in hand hygiene. By 5 May next year, we are aiming for 10,000 registrations. To do this we will need your help. Word of mouth is one of the best ways, as are contacting colleagues, talking to other health professionals and using your networks. We will swing into action with a revitalized campaign very shortly - all details and information will be available on the website.

Campaigning countries get together

In August more than 47 participants from 25+ countries came together in Geneva for a two-day technical meeting. The attendees represented countries where hand hygiene campaigns are now operating or about to begin, and were energized by some spirited debate and discussion on the approaches different campaigns have adopted. It is very encouraging to see the extent to which hand hygiene is being used as a critical means of reducing health care-associated infection (HCAI) and is motivation for us all in continuing with our activities to improve and sustain hand hygiene in all our work places.

Professor Didier Pittet as the expert lead for the First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care stressed the ongoing importance of hand hygiene and the contribution WHO Patient Safety has made since the campaign was initiated four years ago. His presentation was followed by a lively session on 'patient voices' which covered some of the consequences that HCAI bring to patients and their families. Another session included the results of an international survey on the current status of the various hand hygiene initiatives in different countries.

Many participants contributed to the event with oral and poster presentations prompting discussion and interaction. One of the key recommendations was that facilities should adopt a more multidisciplinary approach to hand hygiene improvement at local level, which can be highly rewarding, but challenging to achieve.

One of the major items on the agenda was how to progress the concept of a network of countries where campaigns are already in place or about to begin. The capacity to share knowledge, experiences, issues and concerns is an important aspect of the network. A full report on the Geneva meeting will be available from the website, as well as ongoing information on the activities of campaigning countries.

Case studies for shared learning

A warm thank you to many of you who are sending us hand hygiene case studies reflecting the work being achieved in their local areas. As always, putting these case studies on the website poses some challenges and we are currently putting together some additional guidelines, as well as information about the process here at WHO for uploading them.

Articles about hand hygiene and infection control

If you would like us to contribute an article about any of the items in this newsletter to your local newsletters etc, please let us know.

All information about the Challenge team and contact inquiries are available on the website. And, if you have any specific enquiries, as usual send them to

Good luck for all your on-going infection prevention and control and hand hygiene initiatives. Thank you for your continued support for SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands.

Yours sincerely
Claire Kilpatrick
Programme Manager, First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care