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Global Hand Hygiene Day Advocates for Infection Prevention in European Hospitals

Each year on May 5, the World Hand Hygiene Day is celebrated, underlining the crucial role of hand hygiene in mitigating the transmission of infections. This global observance, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), serves as a reminder of the staggering statistics; approximately 4.3 million patients contract at least one healthcare-associated infection during their time in a European hospital annually. The theme of the campaign – ‘Save Lives: Clean Your Hands’ – echoes this significant issue.

Led by WHO, the campaign beckons healthcare stakeholders worldwide to enhance their commitment to hand hygiene adherence across various healthcare environments. It aims to bolster infection prevention, particularly healthcare-associated infections, to protect both healthcare staff and their patients from pathogens, including those resistant to antibiotics, which are a rising public health concern in Europe.

Despite the alarming rise of these infections, the good news lies in prevention; a substantial portion of these infections can be avoided by refining hand hygiene practices. In the face of the mounting challenge imposed by antibiotic resistance, effective infection prevention and control measures, most notably hand hygiene, are imperative.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) lends its support to this campaign, spotlighting the urgency of improved infection prevention practices. According to ECDC’s surveillance and monitoring data, hand hygiene efficiency is one of the most potent tools in the fight against the burgeoning antibiotic-resistance dilemma.


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