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Hand hygiene practices among health care workers working in tertiary care hospital, New Delhi

Author: 
Megha Rastogi, Pragyan Swagatika Panda, Swati Sharma, Nazia Khan and Man Mohan Mehndiratta
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Hand hygiene plays a very significant role in preventing health care associated infection (HCAI). Several outbreaks of HCAI are linked with contaminated hands of health care workers. Normal human skin harbours various bacteria which are both commensals as well as pathogenic. Through hand washing one can get rid of the microbial contamination as well as dirt and organic material present in hands.1 Though water is considered to be the universal solvent, it cannot remove the hydrophobic substances. Therefore, thorough hand washing with soaps or detergent and water is advised because soap or detergent dissolve hydrophobic substance such as fats and oils and facilitate their subsequent removal from hand.2 Careful hand drying after hand wash also plays a critical role in determining the amount of bacterial transfer associated with touch contact after hand washing.2Drying of hands is recommended using clean towel or air drier can also be used. Reusing and sharing of towels should be avoided as there is a risk of cross contamination.3 Alcohol based hand rubs was introduced to make hand hygiene more convenient as washing hands with soap and water is not feasible every time especially in emergency sections of the hospital. The antimicrobial property of alcohol results from their ability to denature proteins. Adverse reaction related to use of alcohol-based hand rub for hand hygiene include dryness of skin, allergic contact dermatitis, contact urticaria syndrome.4 Although several studies have demonstrated the importance of hand hygiene in the prevention of HCAI, adherence to hand hygiene guidelines remains uniformly low amongst health care workers. However, education plays a critical role and represents one of the cornerstones for improvement of hand hygiene practices. In literature also it has been well illustrated that education plays a vital role in improving compliance of hand hygiene among health care workers. A successful educational program should be multifaceted as well as multidisciplinary to improve the knowledge of hand hygiene among health care workers.1,3 The present WHO guidelines are accompanied by educational material to convey the key recommendations and support training activities. Apart from educational programs, refresher sessions should also be organised frequently to update knowledge of hand hygiene among health care workers. Furthermore, every 15th October of each year is celebrated as Global Handwashing Day to remind us the significance of hand washing. On 5th May 2019 WHO has organised the annual global hand hygiene campaign.2 This study aimed to observe the hand hygiene compliance pattern amongst health care workers in a tertiary care hospital in North India, with an intention to generate an information that would provide the basis for health educational interventions and technical training of health workers that would significantly improve health worker’s compliance with hospital infection prevention standards.

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