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Expert Advocate for Hand Hygiene Promotion in Health Facilities

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The chairman, infectious prevention control and antimicrobial stewardship committee of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi Professor Sambo Zailani, has noted that proper hand hygiene among workers in health facilities is key to preventing hospital acquired infections.

He was speaking at a rally and presentation on hand hygiene by the committee at the Trauma center and ANC clinic of the hospital to commemorate this year’s World Hand Hygiene Day.

Zailani said hand hygiene is important in health care facilities as it protects not only the health worker but also the patient and visitors against hospital acquired infections.

“Statistics from the World Health Organizations (WHO) shows that millions of people are affected by health care associated infections leading to the death of 1 out of 10 infected patients; thus, hand hygiene is critical to reducing these infections,” Zailani said.

He noted that the theme for this year: “Unite for Safety, Clean Your Hand” is a reminder to health care workers on the importance of hand hygiene.

The chairman said links will be established in each unit or ward to fast tract the implementation of hand hygiene policies in the hospital, while calling on the hospital management to provide what is needed to promote best practice.

“Though the hospital is challenged by inadequate human resource for health, the few that we have must abide by hand hygiene practice to curtail the spread of hospital acquired infections.”

The ANC clinic and Trauma Centre will be targeted because of the influx of patients and clients on regular basis.

Speaking on the importance of hand hygiene, an infectious disease nurse at ATBUTH, Kaltume Ibrahim said hand hygiene in a healthcare setting is different from that of the community.

“The health care worker has five critical moments to observe hand hygiene, and this include before touching a patient, after touching the patient or his surroundings, when in contact with body fluid or urine of a patient and before any procedure,” she said.

Ibrahim added that this should be done using soap and running water, antiseptic, or alcohol-based hand rub. “It is necessary for every health worker to observe hand hygiene between seeing patients to protect the patient from contracting any infection other than what he came into the hospital with,” she added.

Stressing the importance of healthcare workers, their interns, cleaners, and visitors being trained and educated on proper techniques of hand hygiene, she said, “Changing gloves between patients and performing hand hygiene is considered one of the best infectious prevention control practices.”

Ibrahim however advised against dipping hands into basin containing water and recommended the use of running water.

The presentation included practical demonstration of hand hygiene.

Also speaking, chief medical Director ATBUTH, Dr Yusuf Jibrin said management will continue to support the committee to achieve an infection free hospital, noting that equipment have been procured to produce antiseptics in the facility. He called on the members to extend hand hygiene practice to their homes and communities.

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