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World Hand Hygiene Day

Healthcare-associated infections (infections acquired during health care delivery) are common and are risk factors for developing sepsis, but they are also very preventable. Effective hand hygiene plays a key role. May 5 is World Hand Hygiene Day, and the focus is on prevention of sepsis in healthcare. 

Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. If not recognized early and managed promptly, it can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure, and even death. It is a serious complication of infection, particularly in low and middle-income countries where it represents a major cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. 

The WHO calls on health facilities to prevent healthcare-associated sepsis through hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC) action. Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide. Below are some calls to action for this years SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign:

  • Health workers: “Take 5 Moments to clean your hands to prevent sepsis in health care."
  • IPC leaders: “Be a champion in promoting hand hygiene to prevent sepsis in health care.”
  • Health facility leaders: "Prevent sepsis in health care, make hand hygiene a quality indicator in your hospital.”
  • Ministries of health: "Implement the 2017 WHA sepsis resolution. Make hand hygiene a national marker of health care quality."
  • Patient advocacy groups: "Ask for 5 Moments of clean hands to prevent sepsis in health care."

In recognition of this campaign, OPENPediatrics is pleased to feature the video, Hand Hygiene, by Debra Morrow.


OPENPediatrics also features the Hand Hygiene Curriculum, which focuses on the importance of hand hygiene in preventing healthcare-associated infections. We are also featuring the video, Pediatric Sepsis: A Diagnosis That Could Save A Life, by Dr. Adrienne Randolph in recognition of this year's campaign focus.