Oman observes World Hand Hygiene Day

Muscat: Hand washing is one of the most effective actions everyone can take to reduce the spread of infections including the Covid-19 virus. Health workers and community members can help to prevent infections by practicing regular and frequent Hand washing, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

With this vision, World Hand Hygiene Day (May 5) is celebrated in Oman with this year’s theme of ‘Save Lives: Clean your hands’. It aligns with the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Oman’s hospitals and clinics, both government and private, emphasised on the importance of hand hygiene in healthcare facilities, thus protecting healthcare workers and patients from infections on World Hand Hygiene Day.

“We raised extensive awareness on the importance of hand hygiene and educated our staff more on the topic of current importance,” said Noora al Zadjali, Head of Infection Control Department at Al Masarah Hospital.

“This year’s campaign aimed to recognise nurses and midwives in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as front-line heroes who deserve recognition, acknowledgement and protection, and to highlight their critical role in infection prevention and control.”

“Good hand hygiene is crucial to improve patient safety and is becoming the front line of defense for the health care team, including nurses and midwives. Now more than ever, the ‘Save Lives: Clean Your Hands campaign’ is vital – in our region and all around the world – to promote hand hygiene and combat the novel corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic,” Dr Ahmed al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean said, adding that hand hygiene is a vital infection prevention and control (IPC) measure that has been proven to improve the quality of patient care and decrease infections acquired during health care.

The WHO further said that ensuring adequate hand hygiene in healthcare facilities globally is an ongoing challenge and at least two in every five healthcare settings lack hand hygiene facilities at point of care. Hand hygiene is essential to support the safety and dignity of nurses, midwives and other health workforce. It can be achieved simply and at low cost, provided basic facilities are put in place.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of sound hand hygiene practices as a first line of IPC. Not only is good hand hygiene essential to defeat Covid-19, but it also helps to limit the risk from other health care-associated infections, which constitute a severe burden on health systems and exert a terrible toll of sickness and deaths that could have been avoided.