World Health Organization Hand Hygiene Resources and CDC Guidance

The Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework is a systematic tool with which to obtain a situation analysis of hand hygiene promotion and practices within an individual health-care facility.

What is its purpose?

While providing an opportunity to reflect on existing resources and achievements, the Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework also helps to focus on future plans and challenges. In particular, it acts as a diagnostic tool, identifying key issues requiring attention and improvement. The results can be used to facilitate the development of an action plan for the facility’s hand hygiene promotion program. Repeated use of the Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework will also allow documentation of progress with time.

WHO – Standard precautions: Hand hygiene Course

Most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way. The WHO Guidelines on hand hygiene in health care support hand hygiene promotion and improvement in health care facilities worldwide and are complemented by the WHO multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy, the guide to implementation, and implementation toolkit, which contain many ready-to-use practical tools. This module has been prepared to help summarize the WHO guidelines on hand hygiene, associated tools and ideas for effective implementation.

CDC – Show Me the Science – Why Wash Your Hands?

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

Washing hands prevents illnesses and spread of infections to others

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
  • Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.

Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. Handwashing education in the community:

  • Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40% 2, 3, 6
  • Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%  4
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21% 3, 5
  • Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57% 7

Download the CDC Guidance on Hand-Washing

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