World Hand Hygiene Day

EWMA joined forces with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) to support the World Health Organization’s Hand Hygiene campaign in 2017.

This campaign aimed at raising awareness among healthcare professionals about the critical importance of hand hygiene in improving patient outcomes.

A campaign programme including dissemination of guidance materials and a workshop on hand hygiene in wound management was held during the EWMA 2017 Conference in Amsterdam.

Download campaign introduction

Download campaign press release (ICN)



ICN - EWMA campaign materials for download:



Joint ICN - EWMA Workshop: Clean hands – Clean wounds:

The workshop was held on Friday 5 May, during the EWMA 2017 Conference in Amsterdam

The presentations are available as webcasts via the EWMA Knowledge Centre

  • The WHO Hand Hygiene Campaign- introduction
    Speaker: Enrique Castro Sanchez, Lead research nurse, NIHR Health Protection Research Unit, Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance, Imperial College London
  • Role of hand hygiene in the management of surgical wounds
    Speaker: Valya Weston, Infection Prevention Society
  • How to reduce transmission and infection by multi drug resistant organisms in wounds across health care settings
    Speaker: Enrique Castro Sanchez, Consultant, Global IPC Unit, World Health Organization
  • Best practice for improving hand hygiene
    Speaker: Erica Ehrhardt, International Council of Nurses


Further information about the WHO campaign

  • WHO campaign webpage and materials can be found here
  • Health facilities can sign up to the WHO campaign here

Further information about ICN

Why focus on hand hygiene

Annually, hundreds of millions of individuals globally are affected by health care-associated infections (HCAIs). Systematic reviews of the literature from both developed and developing countries indicate that HCAI is the most frequent adverse event in healthcare. HCAI leads to prolonged hospital stays, long-term disability, increased resistance to antimicrobial medicines, high costs for patients and families, a high financial burden for health systems, and avoidable deaths.

Most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way. The WHO’s global campaign SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign and its May 5th World Hand Hygiene Day (WHHD) aim to galvanize action at the point of care to demonstrate that hand hygiene is entrance for reducing HCAI and increasing patient safety.

ICN – EWMA Joint campaign

Nurses are in a strong position to influence and enhance a culture that supports and enhances patient safety and infection prevention and control. ICN and the EWMA will be launching a campaign at their respective congresses to populate the WHO call for action. This campaign raised awareness about the importance of hand hygiene and supported nurses to lead the way in this critical intervention. The campaign was headed by Dr Frances Hughes, CEO of ICN and Dr Severin Läuchli, President of EWMA.