Let’s Celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day

Let’s Celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day

Jim Arbogast


By Jim Arbogast, Ph.D.

Hygiene Sciences and Public Health Advancements Vice President, GOJO Industries

World Hand Hygiene Day is celebrated annually every May 5th. It is a day to raise awareness for the critical role hand hygiene plays in infection prevention. Hand hygiene compliance makes a dramatic difference, both in terms of lives saved and healthcare costs reduced. 

At GOJO, our Purpose is Saving Lives and Making Life Better through Well-Being Solutions. We are committed to continuing our long-term partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). GOJO is one of the founding members of the WHO initiative, Private Organizations for Patient Safety (POPS). POPS enables the WHO and private organizations to collaboratively work towards improving hand hygiene education and outcomes. Additionally, GOJO is continuing its’ partnership with the CDC Foundation, to further improve hand hygiene in healthcare and community settings.

According to the CDC, on any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI).1 Hand hygiene compliance improvement is a key approach to reduce HAIs and save expenses, for example one study found a 10 percent increase in hand hygiene compliance associated with a 6 percent decrease in overall HAIs.2 Additionally, each year one to three million serious infections occur in long-term care facilities.3

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Clean Hands Count Campaign

On May 5th, 2016, GOJO and the CDC Foundation and CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion launched the first phase of the Clean Hands Count Campaign. The campaign aims at improving healthcare provider adherence to CDC hand hygiene recommendations; address the myths and misperceptions about hand hygiene practice; and empower patients and visitors to play a role in preventing infections by asking or reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands. The program is now in its second phase with an additional partner, Staples. The expansion of the Clean Hands Count Campaign now has all of the original materials translated to Spanish and reaches new healthcare audiences, specifically targeting dialysis centers and long-term care facilities.

I encourage you to learn more at the CDC Safe Healthcare Blog and utilize the educational materials.

World Health Organization – SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands

The “SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands” campaign aims to progress the goal of maintaining a global profile on the importance of hand hygiene in healthcare and to ‘bring people together’ in support of hand hygiene improvement globally. 

Find more information at SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, retrieved March 29, 2019 https://www.cdc.gov/hai/data/index.html
2. Sickbert-Bennett et al. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2015: 22(9), 1628-1630. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/22/9/15-1440_article
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, retrieved March 29, 2019 https://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare/index.html

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