Clean Care is Safer Care

No 43

12 November 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back! - We were forced to take a break from our regular communications and Newsletter over the last months due to department re-organization and new strategic planning. The outcome is that the WHO Patient Safety Programme now has a new strategy and a new director (Dr Edward Kelley), which have led us to an exciting present and a promising future! As in many of your countries, WHO and the Patient Safety Programme face constrained financial and human resources. Therefore, we share concerns and constraints on advancing patient safety with most of you. However, our commitment to hand hygiene improvement has in no way been affected and infection control remains a very high priority for the WHO Patient Safety Programme. In addition, we think that the only and most effective way to face difficulties is to join forces and support each other around the globe. Indeed, 5 May celebrations have always been a great example of cooperation, global spread and local, innovative, initiatives. We are looking forward to seeing these developments again in 2013, we will provide our support, and we especially count on YOU! Commit for 2013 and let’s continue together to sustain hand hygiene improvement!

In this edition:

  • Registration numbers for SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands global annual campaign
  • 4-7 May 2013: save the dates!
  • Getting ready for 5 May 2013! Our call to action for you!
  • Hand hygiene promotion in outpatient care
  • Last 2012 Infection Control Teleclass
  • New educational events in 2013
  • Hand hygiene Excellence Award

1. Registration numbers for SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands global annual campaign

It is exciting to see that people are continuing to submit health-care facility registrations to WHO! As of 30 October 2012, the total number was 15,266 facilities from 160 countries (Luxemburg has recently joined!), corresponding to almost 3.8 million beds and 13 million health-care workers. Congratulations are also due to Republic of Korea, whose Minister of Health signed the Clean Care is Safer Care pledge statement in July 2012! The number of countries having now signed to show their commitment to health care-associated infection reduction is now 129!

2. 4-7 May 2013: save the dates!

Celebrations for 5 May next year aim to be as inclusive of everyone as possible! This time, the day actually falls on a Sunday, a rest day for most, but not for all. Activities in support of 5 May have always been promoted as 'on or around 5 May' to ensure all health-care workers can have the opportunity to take part in important hand hygiene awareness-raising activities. Therefore, we encourage those working on Saturday and Sunday as regular working week days, to celebrate hand hygiene promotion and improvement on 4 and 5 May 2013. Celebrations in other parts of the world where these are not working days will continue on 6 and 7 May 2013.

3. Getting ready for 5 May 2013!

Our call to action for you in 2013 is two-fold:

  • Continue to focus on hand hygiene monitoring and feedback! Plan to use the WHO Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework (HHSAF) again to check whether your facility has improved compared to last year’s assessment. If you have never used it, please do so and join the thousands of facilities that have used powerful tool to track your progress with hand hygiene improvement. It’s one of the most popular tools with 85,778 downloads up to now! After completing the HHSAF, use and adapt the WHO Template Action Plans to implement your plans for local improvement!
  • Your patients have a voice too! Identify the best way to gather patient participation in hand hygiene promotion and improvement, according to the local culture and your facility’s approach.

Why are these two aspects important for all health-care settings?

The ultimate purpose of responding to the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands call for action is to prevent germ transmission through hands and keep patients safe and contribute to the reduction of the global burden of health care-associated infection.

According to the results of the HHSAF global survey conducted in 2011, “monitoring and feedback” of hand hygiene practices and the creation of an “institutional safety climate”, including patient participation, were the two components of the WHO Hand Hygiene Improvement Strategy least effectively implemented within health-care facilities participating in SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands. Indeed, just 59% of facilities conducted hand hygiene compliance monitoring and only 22% had a programme for patient engagement. Therefore, WHO considers these two components among the highest priorities for global continuous improvement.

Monitoring hand hygiene performance is of crucial importance to:

  • assess baseline compliance by health-care workers (HCWs);
  • provide feedback to HCWs about defective practices as well as improvement;
  • evaluate the impact of promotion interventions, and
  • investigate outbreaks.

Unobtrusive direct observation of hand hygiene practices by a trained observer is considered the gold standard for evaluating compliance. However, promising innovative systems for hand hygiene compliance automatic monitoring and web-based data collection and entry applications using mobile devices are now available and can significantly facilitate data collection and minimize the human resources and time required. When the available resources permit, these new technologies should be the future approach for hand hygiene compliance monitoring, provided that they can detect the 5 moments for hand hygiene. Consumption of hand hygiene products, in particular alcohol-based handrub, is another useful indicator. Data can be calculated easily and can be correlated with infection trends over time. However, to be helpful in inducing HCWs’ behavioural change, they should be used in parallel with hand hygiene compliance data.

Information about the role that patients can play to achieve safety in health-care delivery can be found through the WHO Patients for Patient Safety Programme.

Evidence about patient participation/empowerment in hand hygiene promotion and improvement and suggested actions to achieve it can be found in the following WHO documents:

Watch the next Newsletters and the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands web site over the next months and you will find additional messages and ideas on these topics and new resources!

Please also continue to encourage other facilities to register for SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands to be part of this excellent work going on around the globe!

4. Hand hygiene promotion in outpatient care

WHO has received great appreciation of the WHO Guide on Hand Hygiene in Outpatient and Home-based Care and Long-term Care Facilities and very positive feedback on its usefulness. We invite all of you to access and use this document and its associated tools!

5. Last 2012 Infection Control Teleclass

We are very grateful to Webber Training for having supported us throughout the year by hosting our experts to deliver teleclasses which have been freely accessible from around the world. The last one for 2012 will be on 5 December 2012 at 1:30 pm (Sydney time). Professor W.H. Seto, from China, Hong Kong SAR will present on "New developments in infection control for renal dialysis – an update".

6. New educational events in 2013

Two important educational events, organized by the WHO Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety, University of Geneva Hospitals, led by Professor Pittet, will be held in Geneva in 2013, with technical input by WHO.
The first is the Workshop sponsored by ESCMID entitled "Prevention and clinical management of healthcare associated infections in “real” life - a patient-centered perspective". The course was held in Rome with great success last year and will take place in Geneva from 25 to 27 February 2013. Gather more information and consider registering!

The second is the International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC). At its second edition, after terrific attendance in 2011 (1200 participants from 84 countries), ICPIC will be held in Geneva from 25 to 28 June 2013. Submit your abstract from 1 December 2012 to 22 March 2013!

7. Hand hygiene Excellence Award

Following the great enthusiasm and participation in South-East Asia, the Aesculap Academy has extended the Hand Hygiene Excellence Award to Europe in 2012 for the first time. Health-care facilities can submit their candidature until 31 January 2013. Health-care settings having reached excellence and leadership levels in hand hygiene improvement in Europe are numerous! Consider participating to win the award and spread your example; be the first to do so in Europe!

The WHO Patient Safety: Clean Care is Safer Care team.


Previous SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands newsletters can be used to help you develop your own messages to encourage others to take action.

Enquiries: savelives@who.int


WHO Clean Care is Safer Care

Providing WHO information has to be balanced with available resources, both human and financial. The WHO Patient Safety Programme, including the Clean Care is Safer Care team, do their best to translate their most relevant tools and documents. Regretfully, we are not currently in a position to translate this SAVE LIVES:Clean Your Hands newsletter into French or Spanish. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and hope that you will remain a valued reader of the newsletter.

La délivrance d'informations provenant de l'OMS dépend des ressources disponibles, à la fois humaines et financières. Le Programme OMS pour la Sécurité des Patients, comprenant l'équipe "Un Soin Propre est un Soin plus sûr", fait de son mieux pour traduire ses outils et documents les plus importants. Malheureusement, nous ne sommes pas actuellement en mesure de traduire la lettre d'information mensuelle de SAVE LIVES:Clean Your Hands en français et en espagnol. Nous nous excusons pour ce désagrément et espérons que vous resterez un fidèle lecteur de la lettre d'information à l'avenir.

La información generada por la OMS, depende de los recursos humanos y económicos disponibles. El Programa por la Seguridad del Paciente, y el equipo de la iniciativa "Cuidado Limpio es Cuidado Seguro", realizan sus mejores esfuerzos para traducir el material y documentos de mayor importancia. Desafortunadamente, por el momento no contamos con la facilidad de traducir el boletin mensual SAVE LIVES:Clean Your Hands en francés o español. Le pedimos disculpas por cualquier inconveniente que podamos causarle, y esperamos seguir contando con su valiosa participación como lector de nuestro boletin.

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