The World Health Organization’s calls to action are:

  • Health workers: “Clean your hands at the right times and stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.”
  • Hospital Chief Executive Officers and Administrators: “Lead a year-round infection prevention and control program to protect your patients from resistant infections."
  • Policy-makers: "Stop antibiotic resistance spread by making infection prevention and hand hygiene a national policy priority."

As part of a major global effort to improve hand hygiene in health care, led by WHO to support health-care workers, the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands annual global campaign was launched in 2009 and is a natural extension of the WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care work.

The campaign aims to galvanize action at the point of care to demonstrate that hand hygiene is the entrance door for reducing health care-associated infection and patient safety. It also aims to demonstrate the world's commitment to this priority area of health care.

WHO SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands annual initiative is part of a major global effort led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to support health-care workers to improve hand hygiene in health care and thus support the prevention of often life threatening HAI.

This initiative is part of the WHO ‘Clean Care is Safer Care’ program aimed at reducing healthcare=associated infections (HAI) worldwide, which was launched in October 2005. The clear and central feature of Clean Care is Safer Care thus far has been to target efforts on the importance of clean hands in health care. The program has galvanized action at many levels including from Ministers of Health, who have pledged commitment to reducing HAI and to support the work of WHO. Over 40 countries and areas have also started hand hygiene campaigns during this time.

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands was deemed a natural next phase of the Clean Care is Safer Care program, moving the call to action from a country pledge of commitment to the point of patient care. The central core of SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands is that all health-care workers should clean their hands at the right time and in the right way.

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands incorporates a global annual day to focus on the importance of improving hand hygiene in health care with WHO providing support for these efforts. A suite of hand hygiene improvement tools and materials have been created from a base of existing research and evidence and from rigorous testing, as well as working closely with a range of experts in the field. The tools aim to help the translation into practice of a multimodal strategy for improving and sustaining hand hygiene in health care.

Source: World Health Organization