Minister for Health advocates for hand hygiene awareness

On World Hand Hygiene Day 2024, Stephen Donnelly expressed the vital role of consistent hand hygiene in safeguarding ones health. This is of particular importance for those working in the food industry.

Cleaning hands regularly is one of the most effective ways of stopping the spread of many common infections (Photo by Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels)

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has marked World Hand Hygiene Day (Sunday 5 May). Ireland supported this international initiative, led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Stephen Donnelly emphasised the critical significance of regular and proper hand hygiene as a fundamental measure to safeguard one’s own health. He highlighted the focus of this year’s global campaign on enhancing the knowledge and skills of healthcare workers through effective training and education in infection prevention and control, particularly emphasising hand hygiene. 

The slogan for this year’s global initiative was ‘Why is sharing knowledge about hand hygiene still so important?’

This year marked the 76th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO). In October 2005, the WHO and its partners launched the first Global Patient Safety Challenge with the theme “Clean Care is Safer Care” with the WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare available.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said: “I would like to echo the WHO focus on cleaning our hands. In recent years it has become evident to all the importance of hand hygiene. Clean hands lead not just to better and safer care for patients and families, but also protect health and social care workers.”

Rachel Kenna, chief nursing officer, Department of Health, said: “I would like to emphasise that washing your hands regularly is the single most effective way of stopping the spread of many infections. I would encourage everyone, staff, patients, and visitors in all healthcare settings to practise effective hand hygiene.”

Dr. Eimear Brannigan, clinical lead for Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control Team, HSE , said: “World Hand Hygiene Day was an opportunity to reinforce how vitally important it is that we continually prioritise hand hygiene, share information and resources and ensure that everyone understands how they can help reduce the spread of infection in a healthcare setting or in their own home.”

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