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Explained: Why is World Hand Hygiene Day important?

Today is #worldhandhygieneday, an annual campaign aiming to ‘progress the goal’ of sustaining the importance of hand hygiene worldwide.

After the Coronavirus pandemic started in December of 2019, a huge emphasis on cleanliness and hand washing was thrown to the forefront of everyone’s attention.

This is in an effort to continue this habit and raise awareness on how necessary it is, however it does not have its roots planted in the Covid-19 outbreak.


What is World Hand Hygiene Day?

The SAVE LIVES: World Hand Hygiene Day campaign encourages people across the globe to come together to reinforce hand hygiene improvement.

Hand hygiene is considered to be one of the most effective actions to put a stop to the spread of infections, and acts as a strong preventative method. It has become increasingly relevant and important as a result COVID-19.

The day was initially launched back in 2009 by the World Health Organisation, with the intention of supporting health-care workers, and is an extension of the WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge: “Clean Care is Safer Care.” campaign.

Its main aim is to ensure that all health-care workers are cleaning their hands at the right time and in the right way, and wants people to recognise that people of ‘all levels’ should work together to educate each other, and meet the common goal of safety and quality in the health-care sector.

Hand hygiene improvement tools and materials have been created to aid this – these tools particularly intend on helping sustaining hand hygiene in health care, as well as improving it.


The campaign has created the My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene approach, that defines the key moments when health-care workers should perform hand hygiene:

This approach is evidence-based and user-centred, is designed to be easy to learn, logical and applicable in a wide range of settings.

They also have a range of advocacy videos to educate people, and have just released their new campaign video:

Another way you can get involved is by listening to podcasts, specifically around World Hand Hygiene Day and the importance of hand hygiene in health-care settings:

For any further information about the campaign, click here.

Featured image credit: Mélissa Jeanty, Unsplash.