Public health bodies acknowledge hand hygiene worldwide as one of the most important factors in preventing the spread of pathogens.1 Public awareness campaigns placed significant emphasis on the role of handwashing in slowing the spread of the virus during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic.2
Global awareness and compliance with effective handwashing practices within healthcare settings are still very low, particularly in the least developed countries (LDCs).3 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 70% of healthcare workers and 50% of surgical teams do not practice hand hygiene as part of their working routine.4
Raising awareness of hand hygiene continues to present a significant challenge to varying extents worldwide. In the UK, median rates of hand hygiene compliance in NHS England hospitals range between 40% to 60%.5
As we know too well, the spread of infection can have a significant health and economic impact on individuals, communities, and beyond. Wherever in the world a healthcare setting is located, handwashing should be a basic requirement.6 Performed in the right way, at the right time, handwashing saves millions of lives every year.7
Effective hand hygiene carried out in dental practices is fundamental to the infection control process, playing a critical role in reducing the risk of transmission of healthcare-associated infections.8
Spreading the message – World Hand Hygiene Day 2023
The WHO held its annual World Hand Hygiene Day on 5 May 2023. It reinforces the critical importance of effective hand hygiene in healthcare settings worldwide.
the WHO aims to scale up action in countries where progress and investment in infection prevention and control is slow. To do this, they have created a global campaign with a simple, clear slogan: “Accelerate action together. SAVE LIVES – Clean Your Hands”. The WHO aim to increase overall momentum of lessons learned from the pandemic.
The campaign was designed to help all healthcare professionals raise awareness of handwashing amongst their teams, patients, and communities with low-cost ideas and materials. Printable posters, key facts, and event ideas can still be downloaded from the WHO website.
Decontamination in dental practices: Health Technical Memorandum 01-05
Effective handwashing practice is an essential quality requirement within the primary dental setting in the Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 01-05: Decontamination in primary care dental practices.
The Department of Health (DOH) document provides detailed handwashing and disinfection guidance for dentists and their teams. Two such examples are incorporating hygiene techniques into staff induction and drying hands with paper towels to minimise the transfer of microorganisms. Installing wall-mounted liquid soap dispensers and placing handwashing guides above basins are also recommended. Download our posters on practising effective handwashing techniques for your business.
Hand hygiene and infection control
Initial Medical have hand care covered from all angles. Our comprehensive hand care range provides solutions for dental practices of all sizes, including wall-mounted soap, sanitiser, and paper towel dispensers. Simply scroll through our medical supplies section.
1 Beale S, Johnson AM, Zambon M; Flu Watch Group; Hayward AC, Fragaszy EB. Hand Hygiene Practices and the Risk of Human Coronavirus Infections in a UK Community Cohort. Wellcome Open Res. 2021 Jun 22;5:98. doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15796.2. PMCID: PMC8243225. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243225/ Accessed April 13, 2023.
2 Gov.uk. Department of Health and Social Care. News story: Public information campaign focuses on handwashing. Washing hands for 20 seconds is central to the expanded public awareness campaign to prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). March 4, 2020. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-information-campaign-focuses-on-handwashing. Accessed April 13, 2023.
3 World Health Organization (WHO). WHHD 2023: Key facts and figures. Available at: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hand-hygiene-day/2023/key-facts-and-figures. Accessed April 13, 2023.
4 World Health Organization (WHO). WHHD 2023: Key facts and figures. Available at: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hand-hygiene-day/2023/key-facts-and-figures. Accessed April 13, 2023.
5 NHS England GE3 Hand Hygiene Technology Scheme: rationale for inclusion section. March 2016. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ge3-hand-hygien-tchnlgy.pdf. Accessed April 18, 2023.
6 World Health Organization (WHO). WHHD 2023: Key facts and figures. Available at: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hand-hygiene-day/2023/key-facts-and-figures. Accessed April 13, 2023.
7 World Health Organization (WHO). WHHD 2023: Key facts and figures. Available at: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hand-hygiene-day/2023/key-facts-and-figures. Accessed April 13, 2023.
8 de Amorim-Finzi MB, Cury MV, Costa CR, Dos Santos AC, de Melo GB. Rate of Compliance with Hand Hygiene by Dental Healthcare Personnel (DHCP) within a Dentistry Healthcare First Aid Facility. Eur J Dent. 2010 Jul;4(3):233-7. PMID: 20613909; PMCID: PMC2897854.