Hundreds compete in hand disinfection relay at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital

Knowledge, not germs, spread at Durban hospital’s World Hand Hygiene Day event

Wednesday, May 11 2016

Visitors to Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital were greeted with an unusual sight on Thursday, 5 May, as more than 350 individuals, including doctors, nurses, other healthcare practitioners and management and other members of staff and outsourced services staff, lined the entrance and passages to spread the message of proper hand hygiene on World Hand Hygiene Day.

“The enthusiasm for our hand disinfection relay to show our support for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign was overwhelming,” says Netcare St Augustine Hospital general manager, Heinrich Venter.

During the relay each participant had to clean their hands with disinfectant hand rub according to the WHO-approved technique, which ensures that all areas of the hand are thoroughly cleansed. Some staff members dressed up to represent germs and were playfully chased by their colleagues, who were armed with bottles of antibacterial hand disinfectant.

“The best way to make an important message memorable is to make it fun. We therefore incorporated demonstrating the correct hand hygiene technique into a highly visible relay, so that visitors and patients could also learn the importance of hand cleanliness in preventing the spread of infections and diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.”

The theme for the 2016 WHO hand hygiene campaign is "Safe Surgical Hands”, emphasising the importance of clean hands at the various stages of caring for surgical patients. This forms part of the World Hand Hygiene Day initiative to prevent transmission of infectious illnesses, particularly in healthcare settings but also among the general public.

Staff members and doctors at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban line up ahead of a hand disinfection relay to mark World Hand Hygiene Day.

“The high-spirited relay culminated in a show of patriotism as we all sang the national anthem. This symbolises the importance of hand hygiene in safeguarding the health of all South Africans, as everyone benefits when we all practise hand cleanliness in our everyday lives,” Venter observes.

Staff at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital joined their colleagues from other Netcare hospitals, Medicross family medical and dental centres, Prime Cure clinics, Netcare 911 bases and National Renal Care (NRC) dialysis units as well as other health professionals and health organisations around the globe, in marking World Hand Hygiene Day.

As part of Netcare’s ongoing commitment to science-based, measurement-driven infection prevention, a new app to help track hand hygiene compliance was launched at Netcare hospitals around the country, including Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital, on Thursday.

The Netcare ‘Safe Hands’ measurement mobile application, which has beforehand been piloted in six hospitals, aims to streamline data capturing of hand hygiene observations and record this information in a repository to provide hand hygiene compliance data in real time, at ward level, hospital level and across the entire Netcare group.

“Selected staff members have been trained in the use of this app, which is operated on electronics tablets, and they will be responsible for recording compliance data on behalf of our hospital,” Venter explains.

“Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital values the opportunity presented by World Hand Hygiene Day to reaffirm our collective responsibility for maintaining a clean environment to ward off disease-causing bacteria and viruses,” Venter concluded.


Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, or Devereaux Morkel
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]