‘Safe hands’ celebrated this World Hand Hygiene Day

Hand washing a simple yet effective means of promoting health

Tuesday, May 7 2019

Effective hand washing can prevent the transmission of many illness-causing bacteria and viruses, as hands are the most common conduit for germs. In support of World Hand Hygiene Day, which was commemorated on Sunday, 5 May, Netcare encourages healthcare practitioners, staff members and the public to keep hand cleanliness top-of-mind all year round.

“In our homes and communities, as well as within healthcare facilities, good hand hygiene is one of the most important means of preventing the spread of infectious illnesses,” says Angeliki Messina, Netcare’s quality systems and innovation manager.

“Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly reduces your chances of becoming ill or spreading infections to other people, thereby also reducing the need for antibiotics. This in turn contributes towards the global effort to curb antibiotic resistance, as overuse of antibiotics makes these medicines less effective.”

Hand hygiene is a basic tenet of safe healthcare and World Hand Hygiene Day provides an opportunity for those working in healthcare to show their commitment to practising hand cleanliness at all times when caring for patients, as well as to raise public awareness about the health benefits associated with hand washing. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Clean care for all’.
“While the World Health Organization’s World Hand Hygiene Day campaign places specific emphasis on the importance of hand disinfection for healthcare workers, we all have a role to play in protecting ourselves, our families and communities through good hygiene,” Messina says.

No-touch hand sanitiser dispensers are placed throughout Netcare hospitals in an effort to promote hand hygiene. “Patients and visitors are encouraged to make use of the disinfecting hand sanitiser provided in our hospitals, as we seek to make hand hygiene as accessible as possible for everyone in our facilities.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights five crucial moments for hand disinfection for healthcare workers. These are: before touching a patient; before aseptic procedures; after exposure to body fluids or risk of exposure; after touching a patient and after touching a patient’s surroundings.

“Aligned to the WHO guidelines for hand hygiene, the Netcare Safe Hands mobile application was developed and implemented in all Netcare hospitals in 2016 to reinforce and monitor this vital aspect of infection prevention within healthcare facilities,” she says.

“We believe that proper hand hygiene should be second nature to anyone who works in healthcare, and we have introduced hand cleanliness into ‘the Netcare Way’, which is a set of behaviours that all staff members are expected to comply with in their daily duties. This has helped to foster a culture of hand hygiene within our hospitals, while inspiring staff to become hand hygiene custodians both in the workplace and in their communities.”

Managing director of Netcare’s hospital division, Jacques du Plessis, says hand hygiene is central to the philosophy of safe care that is practised within Netcare hospitals.

“Alongside our other infection prevention and control measures, proper hand disinfection at each of the key moments for hand hygiene, as articulated in the WHO campaign, protects patients, visitors, doctors and staff members alike.

“Hand hygiene is a simple yet highly effective means of safeguarding health, both in communities and within healthcare facilities, however to attain the maximum benefit it must be practised properly and consistently,” he notes.

“The Netcare Safe Hands mobile application, in combination with our on-going hand hygiene programmes, has been a most useful tool in ensuring that we never lose sight of the importance of hand disinfection.

“World Hand Hygiene Day presents the ideal opportunity for all individuals to renew their commitment to making hand hygiene a habit and raising awareness about the significance of hand hygiene, as prevention of illness is always better than cure,” Du Plessis concludes.


Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]