“Nurses and Midwives: Clean Care Is in Your Hands”: The May 5, 2020, World Health Organization SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands Campaign☆
This article is published in other journals and reprinted with permission of the editors in: American Journal of Infection Control; Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control; Clinical Microbiology and Infection; Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology; International Journal of Infection Control; International Journal of Infectious Diseases; Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health; Journal of Hospital Infection; Journal of Infection Prevention; Nursing in Critical Care.
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In honor of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared 2020 the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.” In addition to championing the nursing profession, Nightingale’s role was also fundamental for the recognition of the importance of infection prevention and control (IPC), as she was among the first to recognize that a caregiver could transmit germs and thus cause patient harm. Nurses and midwives make up nearly 50% of the global health workforce  and are the group of healthcare workers that have the most frequent contact with patients. This makes them pivotal figures in the fight against healthcare-associated infections (HAI) as well as neonatal and maternal sepsis.
On May 5, 2020, for the annual celebration of the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign, WHO will focus on the essential role that nurses and midwives play in contributing to saving millions of lives each year by championing clean care. Despite many improvements around the world, rates of HAI remain unacceptably high, and the majority of them are transmitted by healthcare workers’ hands. Therefore, hand hygiene promotion strategies must be constantly reinforced and improved. Clean healthcare has recently been recognized by WHO as one of the most urgent challenges to be tackled by the global community over the next 10 years . Actively engaging the expertise of nurses and midwives in the development, implementation, and evaluation of hand hygiene promotion contributes to clean healthcare.
Along with recognizing the critical importance of nurses and midwives to patient care, the aim of the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” is also to highlight that there is a major global shortage of healthcare workers and that more than half of the shortage is of nurses and midwives . WHO estimates that for countries to succeed in reaching the Sustainable Development Goal #3 on health and well-being, the world will need an additional nine million nurses and midwives by the year 2030 . It has been proven that investing in education and job creation in the health and social sectors will result in improved health outcomes, global health security, and economic growth . Having adequate healthcare worker staffing reduces the risk of HAI and antimicrobial resistance and is thus recommended by WHO as a core component of effective IPC programs .
It is crucial to recognize both the work and the immense responsibility that nurses and midwives carry: we cannot achieve Universal Health Coverage without investing in them. Everyone—including policy makers, healthcare workers, and patients themselves—can contribute to improving hand hygiene and preventing infections (Table 1).
|Campaign participants||Call to action|
|Nurses||“Clean and safe care starts with you.”|
|Midwives||“Your hands make all the difference for mothers and babies.”|
|IPC leaders||“Empower nurses and midwives in providing clean care.”|
|Policy makers||“Increase nurse staffing levels to prevent infections and improve quality of care. Create the means to empower nurses and midwives.”|
|Patients and families||“Safer care for you, with you.”|
The May 5, 2020, World Health Organization SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign calls to action
Please join us in celebrating this vital and often underappreciated group of HCW: “Nurses and Midwives: CLEAN CARE Is in YOUR HANDS”!
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest. All authors have submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Conflicts that the editors consider relevant to the content of the manuscript have been disclosed.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views, decisions, or policies of the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. The World Health Organization (WHO) takes no responsibility for the information provided or the views expressed in this article.
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Cite this article
TY - JOUR AU - Alexandra Peters AU - Nasim Lotfinejad AU - Chloé Guitart AU - Alice Simniceanu AU - Maria Clara Padoveze AU - Tcheun Borzykowski AU - Benedetta Allegranzi AU - Didier Pittet PY - 2020 DA - 2020/02 TI - “Nurses and Midwives: Clean Care Is in Your Hands”: The May 5, 2020, World Health Organization SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands Campaign☆ JO - Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health SP - 4 EP - 5 VL - 10 IS - 1 SN - 2210-6014 UR - https://doi.org/10.2991/jegh.k.200218.002 DO - https://doi.org/10.2991/jegh.k.200218.002 ID - Peters2020 ER -