Doctors in some countries fail to wash their hands correctly

30th of October 2013
Doctors in some countries fail to wash their hands correctly

A two-year study carried out in five countries around the globe found that 40 per cent of the doctors were not washing their hands effectively.

And researchers discovered that medical staff in these countries were largely uneducated in the ways in which disease can spread throughout a hospital.

The study looked at the handwashing habits of staff at 43 hospitals in Costa Rica, Italy, Mali, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. While 60 per cent of doctors observed good hand hygiene compliance, nurses had a better record with a 71 per cent compliance figure.

"Sometimes the simplest and most cost-effective interventions can have the greatest impact," said WHO envoy for patient safety Sir Liam Donaldson. "We now have the effective method to eliminate millions of avoidable sicknesses and death and reduce the growing problem of antimicrobial resistant infections."

According to WHO, the most commonly transmitted infections as a result of improper hand washing are urinary tract and surgical site infections, pneumonia and infections of the bloodstream.

The World Health Organisation has outlined a hand hygiene compliance strategy that consists of five main components: ensuring healthcare workers have access to an alcohol-based handrub at point of patient care; training and educating healthcare workers; visual reminders at point of care; monitoring and feedback on compliance, and a move towards greater attention to patient and healthcare worker safety.

"As resistance to antibiotics and other key medicines becomes more common it is more essential than ever to reduce the number of avoidable infections in hospital," said coordinator of the patient safety programme at WHO Edward Kelley.



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