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Under Secretary for Food and Health calls for community participation in promoting hand hygiene (with photos)

     The Under Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, today (April 29) called for the support of healthcare workers and the public in promoting hand hygiene against antimicrobial resistance.

     Speaking at the Hand Hygiene Campaign 2014 Kick-off Ceremony cum Infection Control Forum today, Professor Chan underlined the importance of hand hygiene. She pointed out that antimicrobial resistance is an important global public health threat nowadays with increasing numbers of antimicrobial resistance infections reported worldwide, and that Hong Kong is no exception.

     "To prevent the spread of these pathogens, infection control measures are of prime importance. There is no doubt that proper hand hygiene remains one of the most effective yet simple and cost-effective means for reducing the transmission of infection," she said.

     To this end, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has been actively promoting hand hygiene in both healthcare settings and the community in support of the World Health Organization's (WHO) "SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands" initiative, and has designated May 5 as Hand Hygiene Awareness Day annually since 2010.

     This year, the WHO's call to action focuses on the importance of hand hygiene in combating antimicrobial resistance, and its newly launched message is: "No action today; no cure tomorrow – make sure the WHO 5 Moments are part of protecting your patients from resistant germs."

     The CHP has taken this opportunity to strengthen its partnership with various stakeholders to establish a defence against antimicrobial resistance at multiple levels by engaging the public and private hospitals for the first time in the promotion of hand hygiene.

     An infection control forum updating medical professionals on multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) and the role of hand hygiene in combating antimicrobial resistance was held today to echo the campaign.

     The launch ceremony unveiled a series of publicity campaigns and educational programmes aimed to raise the awareness of good hand hygiene among healthcare workers and the public. The activities co-ordinated by the DH will be spread over half a year and will seek to gain the support of the public and private hospitals territory-wide. Highlights include themed days with hand hygiene promotion conducted by public and private hospitals, hand hygiene projects organised by healthcare students, dissemination of new education materials to various healthcare facilities including residential care homes for the elderly, and the production of a new Announcement in Public Interest reminding the public to protect themselves against MDROs by observing hand hygiene.

     Other officiating guests at today's ceremony included the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection, Dr Leung Ting-hung; the Director (Quality and Safety) of the Hospital Authority, Dr Derrick Au; and the Chairman of the Hong Kong Private Hospitals Association, Dr Anthony Lee.

Ends/Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:30


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