5th May: WHO World Hand Hygiene Day

Every year more than 30 million patients worldwide suffer from healthcare-associated sepsis. To prevent avoidable infections and improve patients’ safety, every year on the 5th of May, the World Health Organization calls upon healthcare facilities to sign up for its campaign SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands. This campaign encourages healthcare professionals to take concrete actions and use hand hygiene best practices. Three useful facts.

1. Why is the World Hand Hygiene Day on 5th May?

The date 5th May symbolises the five fingers on each hand. The WHO started the campaign in 2009. The goal: Bring people from all over the world together and support hand hygiene improvement.

2. Why is sepsis linked to hand hygiene?

With an estimated six million deaths per year, sepsis represents a global public health problem. As hand hygiene is the key to a better infection prevention, it is critical for dramatically reducing the incidence of sepsis and saving lives.

3. What matters when you disinfect your hands?

Use three instead of six! The German campaign “Aktion saubere Hände” clearly recommends following an easier three-step procedure for hand disinfection:

  1. Use enough disinfectant to wet the hands.
  2. Rub the entire hands, paying special attention to the thumbs, the fingertips and the nail folds.
  3. Let the disinfectant dry for 30 seconds.

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