PAHO celebrates the World Hand Hygiene Day

Roundtable world hygiene day

Washington DC May 22, 2023 (PAHO) – Under the slogan “Save lives. Clean your hands”, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) celebrated World Hand Hygiene Day on May 4th with a roundtable that brought together leaders from various sectors of the health field to exchange their views and experiences on the subject.

“Every day, healthcare professionals and caregivers perform hand hygiene properly and at the correct time, saving lives every day,” said the director of PAHO, Jarbas Barbosa, in his message dedicated to this celebration.

Hand hygiene saves millions of lives each year when performed at the right times during healthcare delivery. It is also a wise investment that offers excellent returns and significant savings. Clean care is a sign of respect for the people who seek care and protects the health of the workers who provide it.

“Hand hygiene in primary healthcare centers and hospitals has a crucial role in  preventing and controlling  infections associated with health care. When done properly, it prevents 50% of healthcare-acquired infections. It prevents deaths and sequelae and reduces the need for treatment, hospitalization, and the use of antibiotics”, Barbosa highlighted. 

The virtual event had the participation of over 3,000 attendees from 35 countries, both within and outside the Region, and attracted more than 5,000 viewers who followed the live broadcast on YouTube. The roundtable discussion brought together leaders and representatives from various sectors of the health field, including official organizations, decision-makers, NGOs, civil society organizations, and PAHO experts. 

The PAHO director closed his message with a call to action, urging governments, health workers, individuals, and communities to become aware of the existing inequities in the Region and redouble their commitment to hand hygiene.