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CPS Clean hands save lives and is the pillar of infection prevention and control

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The theme for Sunday, May 5 Hand Hygiene Day is “Clean hands save lives.”


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), everyone has the right to expect clean care, whether that care is administered in a field hospital, a care home or a state-of-the art operating theatre.


The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says clean care is safer care; protects the most vulnerable, saves lives and helps combat bacteria resistance, and it all starts with clean hands for infection prevention and control.


CPS calls on all health and care related-institutions to review and reflect on their protocols currently in place for infection prevention and control, and to make adjustments where necessary if need be to be in line with WHO standards and requirements.


The WHO says that the: “The simple act of cleaning hands is part of a bigger picture that includes emergency preparedness, outbreak control and the fight against antimicrobial resistance.


“As an infection control specialist, Professor Mitchell Schwaber was part of the taskforce that dealt with an outbreak of a deadly, drug-resistant form of Klebsiella bacteria in Israel in 2006.


“He has unique insight into how this outbreak was brought under control with measures based on the fundamentals of infection control, including proper hand hygiene. The lessons learned from this challenge changed Israel’s approach to infection prevention and control forever, helping to prevent future outbreaks.”


The five moments to ensure clean hands in health care are: before touching a patient; before clean/aseptic procedures; after body fluid exposure/risk; after touching a patient; and after touching patient surroundings.


The WHO published in 2009 the ‘WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in health care,’ which provides health-care workers (HCWs), hospital administrators and health authorities with a thorough review of evidence on hand hygiene in health care and specific recommendations to improve practices and reduce transmission of pathogenic micro-organisms to patients and HCWs.


WHO says the present guidelines are intended to be implemented in any situation in which health care is delivered either to a patient or to a specific group in a population. Therefore, this concept applies to all settings where health care is permanently or occasionally performed, such as home care by birth attendants.