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The Global Handwashing Partnership

Profiling leaders in hand hygiene

January 2, 2019

This year, the Global Handwashing Partnership will be publishing a series of interviews sharing stories from people leading efforts to improve hand hygiene. With this series, we hope to share examples and personal narratives of leaders who took action to improve hand hygiene in their community, and to inspire others to focus on hand hygiene in their own work.

For this series, we’re looking for people from any country or setting working to improve hand hygiene in one or more health facilities. These profiles will share the stories of people who have led changes in health facilities, either directly or through research, policy, innovation, or other areas. By highlighting their stories, the GHP hopes to  document their successes and learnings, and to compel more people to take action in improving hand hygiene.

Practicing good hand hygiene is one of the most important things that health workers can do to prevent infections, healthcare-associated infections, sepsis, and antimicrobial resistance. However, it’s not a term that most people talk about often. The term ‘hand hygiene’ generally refers to keeping hands clean, and in healthcare settings includes cleaning hands at the 5 critical times recommended by the WHO.The WHO estimates that 60% of healthcare providers are not practicing correct hand hygiene. This contributes to increased rates of infections, morbidity, and mortality for patients, particularly vulnerable groups like young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.

This year, we’re looking at an essential part of any effort to improve hand hygiene – leadership. Despite the startling statistics about global practice, there have been some huge successes. Many of these came from leaders who believed in the importance of hand hygiene and led initiatives to improve it in their own facility. We want to share stories that go beyond the global statistics, documenting hand hygiene efforts around the world. Stay tuned to read more about these efforts. If you know a hand hygiene leader, please contact us at so we can share their efforts in our series.

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