The importance of Hand Hygiene is vital in today’s world with the prevalence of diseases, and even diseases that the world had hoped were eradicated. While one may assume that all health care workers are diligent about hand-washing, that is not always the case. To support adherence to Hand Hygiene, GHTK launched a Hand Hygiene Program in 2012. This was done in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards for the “Five Moments of Hand Hygiene”to create awareness of the importance of good-hand hygiene practices within the NICU. The Program was conducted by Dr. Katherine Runkle from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada over a period of three (3) years.
In following WHO Standards, the “Five Moments of Hand Hygiene” are:
- Before touching a patient
- Before cleaning/aseptic procedures
- After body fluid exposure/risk
- After touching a patient
- After touching a patient’s surroundings
The program was delivered through:
- On-site Workshops at GPHC, Linden, New Amsterdam, Suddie and West Demerara Regional Hospitals
- The “Five Moments of Hand Hygiene” Posters were created and provided to all sites
- Surveillance data was shared with management and staff at each site
Dr. Runkle’s data was also shared with the management at the Ministry of Public Health and GPHC. The data identified further gaps within the system which, at that time, was a key component to the Infection rates recorded at GPHC. GHTK responded by providing Hand Dryers, Soap Dispensers, Garbage bins and over 100 cases of Hand-sanitizers, CAVI wipes and non-sterile/sterile gloves for the NICUs.
As the program advanced the Infection rates dropped with the recorded data identifying an overall success rate of 61%. The recorded compliance component was – 50% for nurses and 75% collectively for residents/GMOs/Interns/Medical Students.
Further efforts to address Infection Control lead to GHTK assisting the Main Laboratory at GPHC with blood screening media as part of a pilot to identify and isolate which bacteria was responsible for the sick babies in the NICU and to target those with treatments. GHTK has also worked with GPHC to create platforms between GPHC and Professional Consultants with expertise in Infection Control.
Each year the “WHO’s Save Lives: Clean Your Hands” campaign aims to progress the goal of maintaining a global profile on the importance of hand hygiene in health care and “to bring people together” in support of hand hygiene improvement globally.
Hand Hygiene continues to be a vital part of GHTK’s programs in Guyana, and infection rates are tracked, and follow-up action taken to reduce them.