May 5th 2017 marks World Hand Hygiene Day, a global campaign to encourage effective hand hygiene and infection prevention. This year’s theme tackles antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a huge threat to global health.
One in ten people acquire a health care-associated infection while receiving health care. In low- and middle-income countries, this number doubles to one in five. Infection can lead to increased time spent in hospital, disability, or even death.
Infections can become untreatable when patients develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics or antivirals). Simple interventions performed at critical moments in health care, such as hand hygiene, can help prevent these infections, reducing the need for use of antimicrobial drugs and lowering the risk of developing resistance.
It is estimated that improving hand hygiene practices could lead to a reduction of pathogen transmission in health care by 50%, creating a significant impact towards reducing infection and AMR.
WHO have released four calls to action that will help fight AMR this World Hand Hygiene Day. Over the course of the next few days we’ll be posting details on each of these calls to action and how the work of Soapbox fits in.