WHO (World Health Organization) has given vital information on how we can best do our part in stopping the transmission of the Novel Coronavirus through hand hygiene. Read on for a list of recommendations;
- One or several hand hygiene stations (either for handwashing with soap and water or for hand rubbing with an alcohol-based hand rub) should be placed in front of the entrance of every public (including schools and healthcare facilities) or private commercial building, to allow everyone to practice hand hygiene before entering and when leaving it.
- Facilities should be provided at all transport locations, and especially at major bus and train stations, airports, and seaports.
- The quantity and usability of the hand hygiene stations should be adapted to the type (e.g. young children, elderly, those with limited mobility) and number of users to better encourage use and reduce waiting time.
- The installation, supervision, and regular refilling of the equipment should be the overall responsibility of public health authorities and delegated to building managers. Private sector and civil society initiatives to support the commodities, maintenance, and effective use are welcome.
- The use of public hand hygiene stations should be obligatory before passing the threshold of the entrance to any building and to any means of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. Repeated hand hygiene whenever outside private homes can in this way become part of the routine of everyday life in all countries.
- All private and public health care facilities should establish or strengthen their hand hygiene improvement multimodal programmes and rapidly ensure at a minimum procurement of adequate quantities of quality hand hygiene supplies, refresher hand hygiene training, and reminders and communications about the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- Local health authorities should ensure the continuous presence of functional hand hygiene stations (either alcohol-based hand rub dispensers or soap, water, and disposable towels) for all health care workers at all points of care, in areas where personal protective equipment (PPE) is put on or taken off, and where health care waste is handled. In addition, functional hand hygiene stations should be available for all patients, family members, and visitors, and within 5 m of toilets, as well as at entrances and exits, in waiting and dining rooms, and other public areas. Local production of alcohol-based hand rub formulations in national, sub-national or hospital pharmacies or by private companies should be strongly encouraged according to WHO guidance, especially if commercial options are limited or too costly.
- Health care workers should perform hand hygiene using the proper technique and according to the instructions known as “My 5 moments for hand hygiene”, in particular, before putting on PPE and after removing it, when changing gloves, after any contact with a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 virus, their waste, or the environment in the patients’ immediate surroundings, after contact with any respiratory secretions, before food preparation and eating, and after using the toilet.
“WHO Interim Recommendation on Obligatory Hand Hygiene Against Transmission of COVID-19.” 1 April 2020, https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/inaugural-who-partners-forum/who-interim-recommendation-on-obligatory-hand-hygiene-against-transmission-of-covid-19.pdf.