The 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 Patient Safety First Global Patient Safety Challenge, ‘Clean Care is Safer Care’ programme aimed at reducing 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 programme has galvanised action at many levels including, as at November 2009, Ministers of Health from 121 countries having pledged commitment to reducing HAI and support the work of WHO. Thirty eight nations/sub-nations 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 programme, 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 as well as WHO providing information and materials to support these efforts and sharing information on the activities of the many others who take action at local, national and regional level.
A suite of 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.