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It’s in Our Hands: World Hand Hygiene Day is May 5

Brittany Taylor
May 01, 2018


Clean Hands Save Lives

Mark your calendars: On May 5, 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be raising awareness for hand hygiene.


Since its inception in 2009, the WHO’s annual SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign aims to impress the importance of good hand hygiene on a global level. By bringing people together for a common cause, the WHO intends to achieve its goal of maintaining a worldwide focus on hand hygiene. Deb Canada is proud to join the WHO to promote this important day of advocacy. The theme of this year’s hand hygiene day is, “It’s in Your Hands: Prevent Sepsis in Healthcare.”


According to the WHO, of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, seven in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire at least one health care-associated infection (HAI)[1]. However, up-to 70 percent of these infections could be prevented if health care workers follow recommended protocols, which include hand hygiene[2].


 What is Sepsis?


Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection that occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can cause organ failure or even death. It is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide. While many cases are linked to infections contracted in hospitals, any infection can lead to sepsis.


Preventing the Spread of Sepsis


Good hand hygiene is a proven, affordable and easy way to prevent sepsis. For 2018, the WHO is encouraging support from many groups, including health workers, IPC leaders, health facility leaders and patient advocacy groups. Infection prevention professionals should lead by example and be champions of promoting proper hand hygiene in healthcare facilities to prevent sepsis. Ministries of health are also encouraged to make hand hygiene a national marker of healthcare quality.


How You Can Help


You can play an integral role in preventing the spread of germs by frequently and thoroughly cleaning your hands and learning more about the role of hand hygiene in infection prevention. Many resources are available to help promote the importance of this issue. Here are a few ways you can step up and join the fight:


  • Visit the WHO’s new 2018 website for resources including posters, social media assets and more information on sepsis.
  • Access the WHO’s monthly newsletter with updates and advocacy language to share with your community.
  • Sign up for the campaign and take part in the global initiative here.
  • Join the conversation on May 5 by using the hashtags #sepsis and #handhygiene on social media.
  • Download Your 4 Moments for Hand Hygiene Poster 
  • Learn more about good hand hygiene at

Download Hand Washing Poster


On May 5 and throughout the year, let’s work together to spread the word about the importance of proper hand hygiene in sepsis prevention.





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