The World Health Organization's five-part strategy to increase hand hygiene succeeded in five countries, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The WHO strategy for hand hygiene compliance was implemented in 43 hospitals in Costa Rica, Italy, Mali, Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from December 2006 to December 2008. The strategy includes five main parts:
1. Ensuring healthcare workers have access to alcohol-based hand rub at the point of patient care.
2. Training and educating healthcare workers on the most important times in patient care for hand hygiene. WHO promotes "five moments" of hand hygiene.
3. Monitoring and providing feedback on compliance.
4. Putting visual reminders at the point of care in the workplace.
5. Creating a culture of attention to patient and healthcare worker safety within the institution.
Overall hand hygiene compliance increased from 51 percent prior to the intervention to 67.2 percent after, according to the study. Healthcare workers also increased their knowledge of microbial transmission and hand hygiene principles, raising their average score on a questionnaire from 18.7 to 24.7. In addition, all sites sustained or further improved hand hygiene compliance two years after the intervention.
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