Epidemics of diseases such as COVID-19, Ebola Virus Disease and Lassa fever have shown how rapidly cases increase from a few cases of infection due to poor Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices. IPC is key to prevention of infection in patients and healthcare workers. Most studies conducted on IPC are mainly in high income countries, there is a dearth of literature on IPC in low- and middle-income countries. According to the World Health Organization, programs to support IPC are particularly important in low- and middle-income countries where healthcare delivery and medical hygiene standards may be affected by secondary infections. Hand hygiene is one of the most important aspects of IPC, in some health facilities in low- and middle-income countries, the availability of adequate water supply and other materials for hand hygiene; awareness of and compliance with the moments for hand hygiene may all be constraints that affect adequate hand hygiene.
The World hand hygiene day 2022, has its slogan as, “Unite for Safety: Clean your hands.” While the theme is “A health care quality and safety climate or culture that values hand hygiene and Infection Prevention and Control.” The theme calls to action healthcare workers, IPC practitioners, Quality and Safety leads, facility managers, policy makers and people who use health by recognizing the key roles all these stakeholders play to promote hand hygiene at the health facility level. Hand hygiene at the health facility level is crucial as it focuses on the main spread of infection where standard precautions is poor.
The International Society of Infectious Diseases (ISID) is at the forefront of IPC globally, particularly in low resource settings. The ISID resource, Guide to Infection Control in the Health care setting in its 6th Edition provides principles and interventions that can reduce the rate of infections and the impact of its associated consequences particularly higher morbidity and mortality, costs related to longer health facility stays and AMR for all the stakeholders involved. The resource has a dedicated chapter on hand hygiene which describes the various approaches that improve health worker hand hygiene compliance. All hands should be on deck to improve hand hygiene at the health facility level to prevent the spread of infection.
By Aisha Abubakar, MBBS, MPH
ISID Scientific Manager, ProMED-EAFR Moderator
Reader, Department of Community Medicine
Ahmadu Bello University