Preventing healthcare-associated infections and reducing their avoidable impact on
health systems is critical today to make facilities safer for patients worldwide .
In addition, the increasing public health burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
urges to action . Stronger political commitment in reducing AMR was highlighted
at the last United Nations General Assembly in September 2016 in New York.
Hand hygiene is at the center of effective infection prevention and control (IPC)
to combat AMR spread . The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued guidelines
on the Core Components of effective IPC programmes . Their implementation will
allow for strong, resilient health systems in all settings. The guidelines include
the application of a multimodal strategy that consists in achieving system change
(infrastructure and resources), raising awareness, education and training, monitoring
and timely feedback and a patient safety culture that includes visibly committed leadership.
This approach improves hand hygiene, reduces infections and saves lives . Therefore,
on the occasion of the upcoming 5th May 2017 Global Annual Hand Hygiene Day, WHO urges
policy makers, top-level managers, IPC specialists and other health professionals
to focus on the fight against AMR spread, by building ever stronger hand hygiene and
IPC programmes (Table 1).
5th May 2017 key World Health Organization campaign messages
Health workers: “Clean your hands at the right times and stop the spread of antibiotic
Hospital Chief Executive Officers and Administrators: “Lead a year-round infection
prevention and control programme to protect your patients from resistant infections."
Policy-makers: "Stop antibiotic resistance spread by making infection prevention and
hand hygiene a national policy priority."
IPC leaders: "Implement WHO’s Core Components for infection prevention, including
hand hygiene, to combat antibiotic resistance.”
We encourage health facilities worldwide to endorse the WHO's 5th May 2017 campaign
 and further improve hand hygiene, fight antibiotic resistance and commit to progressing
towards adherence with all core components of IPC programmes.
Let’s fight antibiotic resistance together; it's in our hands.