Ignaz Semmelweis was a 19th century Hungarian physician who is known as the pioneer of handwashing. In 1847, he proposed the practice of washing hands with chlorinated lime solution while working in Vienna General Hospital‘s first obstetric clinic. Because of his use of disinfection, countless lives were saved and he became known as the “savior of mothers”.
What Dr. Semmelweis discovered is something that still holds true today: handwashing is one of the most profound and important tools in public health.
It’s hard to believe that even today, with our current COVID-19 pandemic challenge, our most powerful tools remain handwashing and wearing masks. Unfortunately, convincing healthcare providers to take hand washing more seriously remains a challenge. Thousands of hospitalized patients still get infections every year and hand hygiene remains one of the most important ways to prevent them.
The World Health Organization’s campaign to Save Lives: Clean Your Hands is a global initiative to bring people together in support of hand hygiene. It is part of a major global effort to improve hand hygiene and health care.
The campaign aims to galvanize action at the point of care and demonstrate that hand hygiene goes hand-in-hand with healthcare associated infections and patient safety.
With our current pandemic, these dedicated actions are more crucial than ever.