World Hand Hygiene Day - 5th May 2019


World Hand Hygiene Day takes place on the 5th of May 2019. The World Hand Hygiene Day Campaign is part of a major global effort led by the World Health Organization (WHO) SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign to improve hand hygiene in healthcare settings.

Healthcare associated infections (HCAI’s) especially those caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria are a growing public health concern. Hand hygiene is the single most important way to stop the spread of infection in healthcare settings. One third of all HCAIs are preventable, improving hand hygiene practices is critical to achieving health for all.

The WHO campaign focuses on:

  • Health workers: “Champion clean care – it’s in your hands."
  • Infection prevention control leaders: “Monitor infection prevention and control standards – take action and improve practices.”
  • Health facility leaders: "Is your facility up to WHO infection control and hand hygiene standards? Take part in the WHO survey 2019 and take action!”
  • Ministries of health: "Does your country meet infection prevention and control standards? Monitor and act to achieve quality universal health coverage."
  • Patient advocacy groups: "Ask for clean care – it’s your right."

Why target healthcare workers?

  • Washing hands regularly prevents the spread of serious healthcare associated infections caused by germs such CPE, MRSA and C.difficile
  • Good hand hygiene helps protect our own health and the health of our families
  • Healthcare workers who practice good hand hygiene regularly can help reduce antimicrobial resistance

What can individual healthcare workers do to improve hand hygiene in their own workplace?

  • Follow WHO 5 moments of hand hygiene so you perform hand hygiene at the right times
  • Practice good hand hygiene technique and demonstrate bare below the elbow
    • No jewellery except a plain band, no wrist watch, no nail polish/gel nails, bare wrists
  • Remember to always clean your hands when putting on and removing gloves
  • Wash your hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty
  • Discuss the importance of hand hygiene with patients and their relatives
  • Lead by example - become a hand hygiene champion
  • Join the fight today and help beat antibiotic resistance


For further information on hand hygiene: