In a in the Journal of Hospital Infection, three researchers outlined that hand hygiene with alcohol-based rubs are one of the most effective measures to prevent COVID-19 cross-transmission among healthcare workers. This seems obvious, especially now, but despite the many coordinated campaigns and efforts in the past, hand hygiene has yet to be implemented rigorously across the world.
Hand hygiene is often in over-crowded healthcare settings, and in settings where resources may be limited. For example, in 2016, in eight out of 55 countries with data available, more than half of health care settings lacked appropriate handwashing facilities (i.e. water and soap or alcohol-based hand rubs) at points of care, as per a compiled by the WHO & UNICEF.
To complicate matters further, healthcare workers, especially nurses, are to infectious pathogens, must work long hours and may have limited to the necessary personal protective equipment in an infectious outbreak like COVID-19. With all of this in mind, it is important now, more than ever, that everyone practices hand hygiene rigorously.
The WHO proclaimed 2020 to be the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, so it’s unsurprising to see that their include calling on nurses and midwives to take special care with cleaning their hands, and for policy makers to increase staffing levels to improve the quality of healthcare. Similarly, the CDC has issued a Campaign to address myths around hand hygiene.