Unchanged behavior from Chicago to Sierra Leone.
"Clean Hands. Save Lives." is the mantra of the CDC fostered Clean Hands Coalition, who today are joining the World Health Organization and Handwashing For Life Healthcare to celebrate World Health Day. The day started with a very informative webinar, "Healing Hands" sponsored by the Global Public-Private Partnership For Handwashing.
It focused on the the importance of hand hygiene in healthcare and the progress of the WHO program over the past 10 years. This was followed by a meeting of The Clean Hands Coalition who renewed their commitment to work on the behavioral aspects contributing to the alarming annual HAI death rate in the USA.
It is clear from the various reports that the handwashing issues are poles apart from counties like Sierra Leone to those facing Chicago. Sierra Leone celebrated today by becoming the 137th country to join the WHO movement. Their episode with Ebola is driving positive change in handwashing by planning to get running water into hospitals.
In Chicago, there is plenty of water but not plenty of handwashing. Compliance rates are 50% at best, reflecting the need for behavior change. Training is seen as the solution for many but gains are short-lived. We need data. More importantly, caregivers need data, reporting directly to themselves in real-time on their performance in patient protection.