The World health organization is celebrating May 5 hand hygiene day this year with the theme: clean hands save lives: Fight antibiotic resistance, it’s in your hands. There is ample evidence that practicing hand hygiene in healthcare facilities help to reduce the incidence of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) and antibiotic resistance. It is important for healthcare workers to remember the 5 golden rules of hand hygiene which include:

  • Hand hygiene must be performed exactly where you are delivering healthcare to patients (at the point of care)
  • There are 5 moments or indications when it is essential that hand hygiene should be performed
  • Before touching a patient
  • Before clean or aseptic procedure
  • After body fluid exposure risk
  • After touching a patient
  • After touching patient surroundings
  • You should prefer to use alcohol hand rub over hand washing because it is faster, more effective and can be practiced at the point of care.
  • If your hands are visibly soiled, wash with soap and water.
  • Perform hand hygiene using the right technique and time duration.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when micro-organisms change when exposed to antibiotics and thus renders these antibiotics ineffective. Antibiotic resistance can lead to prolonged hospital stay, increased cost of hospital stay, disabilities, sickness and death. It has become a serious global threat to public health such that in 2015 the World Health Assembly declared antibiotic resistance a global public health emergency and endorsed a global action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance. There exists an increasing prevalence of multidrug resistant bacteria like Carbapenem resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing Escherichia coli and Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE) across the country. One of the ways to control antibiotic resistance is by ensuring at the hands of healthcare workers do not spread antimicrobial resistant organisms from one patient to another. Hand hygiene is at the core of effective infection prevention and control (IPC) programmes to fight antibiotic resistance. This global fight against antibiotic resistance begins with you and it’s in your hands. Save lives, clean your hands.

There is ample evidence that practicing hand hygiene in healthcare facilities help to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The infection control unit of LUTH will be joining the World Health Organisation to celebrate the May 5 hand hygiene day with the theme: Fight Antibiotic Resistance- It’s in your hands. Join us at the Marble floor LUTH on Friday 5th May 2017 by 10am prompt.

#Handhygiene #AntibioticResistance

Dr Philip Oshun FMCPath
Consultant Microbiologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos