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Hand Hygiene Prevent the Spread of Germs

03 May 2024

Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) partners with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) for the 13th Hand Hygiene Campaign, coinciding with the World Hand Hygiene Day, which is marked every year on May 5, as endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The campaign generally targets all primary healthcare employees and the community through awareness and mentoring lectures, highlighting the importance of hand hygiene and its proper practices. This year's participation comes under the theme "Why Is Sharing Knowledge About Hand Hygiene Is Still So Important? Because It Helps Stop the Spread of Harmful Germs in Health Care".


PHCC, through Communicable Disease and Infection Control Section under Health Protection Department, clarified that observing the World Hand Hygiene Day aims to improve and strengthen hand hygiene practices and motivate the community and healthcare workers to reduce healthcare-associated infections, as this is the responsibility of everyone.


The campaign will also focus on raising awareness among health center employees and patients to prevent the spread of microbes, as one of the campaign's objectives is to raise awareness about the importance of timely knowledge and learning regarding hand hygiene to prevent infectious diseases and to promote learning methods to enable the implementation of innovative and effective training to healthcare workers for improved hand hygiene.


Dr. Ahmed Hashim, infection control specialist, pointed out that PHCC is exerting efforts to avoid various risks that may occur in health centers, including preventing the transmission of microbes, as hands are the primary means of transmitting many infectious diseases through direct contact with individuals, surfaces, offices, family and others. He stressed that poor hand hygiene is a cause of spreading many microbes and diseases such as coronavirus, seasonal flu, diarrhea and others. PHCC is therefore ensures the provision of necessary resources such as alcohol-based sanitizers and awareness handwashing using soap and water, monitoring employees’ compliance with hand hygiene practices, and organizing events that reinforce awareness concepts about hand hygiene among health center patients, in addition to other public health measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.


The activities planned for this year include the delivery of awareness and mentoring lectures for health center employees and patients, distribution of pamphlets, and conduction of employee-patient satisfaction surveys regarding hand hygiene practices and their satisfaction with the campaign. Patients will also be encouraged to participate in the campaign, and designated areas will contain educational materials and pamphlets to be distributed to participating patients. Additionally, awareness messages will be sent to employees and patients through SMS and social media platforms in both Arabic and English, and there will be a hand hygiene video competition among all PHCC health centers with prizes to motivate employee engagement.


Dr. Ahmed Hashim added that the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic emphasize adherence to infection control basics through three main measures before the emergence of vaccines: hand hygiene, wearing masks, and social distancing. This highlights the importance of hand hygiene in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and microbes in general.


Hands are considered a primary means of transmitting many communicable diseases, either directly through direct contact between individuals, such as shaking hands, or indirectly through touching contaminated objects with bacteria or viruses from the hands of others in public places such as door handles, escalators, shopping carts, elevator buttons, money, and more.


According to Disease Control and Prevention Center, an estimated 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted through touch. Thus, the simplest and most effective way we can combat the spread of germs is through the same message you're likely to hear throughout your life - wash your hands.


Dr. Ahmed Hashim also noted that maintaining hand hygiene is not only an effective defense against the spread of serious infections, but it is also very simple to do and can make a big difference, especially in healthcare settings where patients are at risk of infection. In fact, research shows that improving hand hygiene can lead to a significant reduction in healthcare-associated infections by up to 50%.


Hand hygiene is the single most effective measure you can take to limit the spread of disease-causing agents and prevent infection, including COVID-19. Community members can play a crucial role in combating COVID-19 by adopting the habit of frequent hand hygiene as part of their daily practices.


In this context, through this campaign, PHCC aims to improve and reinforce hand hygiene practices and motivate the community and its healthcare employees to reduce healthcare-associated infections, as this is the responsibility of everyone.