Botswana: The Ministry of Heath joins the international community in commemorating World Hand Hygiene Day today as part of its hand hygiene promotion campaign. This year’s World Hand Hygiene Day is commemorated under the theme: ‘Together, we can accelerate action to prevent infections and antimicrobial resistance in health care and build a culture of safety and quality in which hand hygiene improvement is given priority,’ with the slogan, ‘Save lives – clean your hands.’
The implication of this theme and slogan is that when one adopts best hand hygiene practices, they are not only safeguarding their health but also saving the lives of other people.
Commemorating this day, therefore, affords the nation an opportunity to look back and reflect on their hand hygiene. Hand Hygiene Day is commemorated globally with the main aim of motivating and mobilizing people to be conscious of their hand hygiene and to always adopt the best hand hygiene practices.
These practices include always washing hands at critical points with clean water and soap. Since 2008, the day has been commemorated in Botswana and globally every 5th of May in order to keep the message about hand hygiene alive.
Hand hygiene saves millions of lives every year when performed at the right moments during health care delivery. Clean care is, therefore, a sign of respect to those who seek care, and it equally protects healthcare workers and others who provide care from possible infections.
The commemoration of World Hand Hygiene Day offers a great opportunity for Botswana as a country to accelerate the implementation of lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and increase investments to close gaps in infection prevention and control, especially through hand hygiene.
Many Batswana will recall that the response to COVID-19 was mainly based on non-pharmaceutical interventions like hand hygiene. Given the experiences and lessons learnt during the COVID-19 response, it is clear that if the nation was to join hands and adopt best hand hygiene practices, preventing infections and antimicrobial resistance in health care will be easily achievable.
The Ministry of Health, therefore, calls upon the nation, communities, health care workers, policymakers and civil society organizations (CSO) to accelerate and sustain action at the point of care, to keep people safe and healthy.