WHO Clean Hands Saves Lives Campaign – May 5th 2017

Every 5 May, WHO calls for a renewed focus on hand hygiene improvement and sustainability in health care. Health care settings are asked to sign up to the WHO 5 May SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands Campaign if not already and to respond to the call to action.

WHO urges you to focus on the fight against antibiotic resistance in the context of hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC) programmes. Hand hygiene is at the core of effective IPC to combat antibiotic resistance, and campaigning each year on or around 5 May is one important part of improving behaviour towards IPC best practices. This year the campaign materials are co-branded with ‘Antibiotics, handle with care’ to demonstrate unity between antimicrobial resistance and IPC efforts.

IPC leaders need to champion hand hygiene campaigning and progress their journey of integrating WHO’s “core components” for infection prevention and control in every health facility.

Everyone can play their part and here’s how:

  • health workers – clean your hands at the right times
  • chief executive officers and managers of health facilities – support hand hygiene campaigning and IPC programmes, to protect patients from antibiotic resistant infections
  • policy makers – stop antibiotic resistance spread by demonstrating national support for and commitment to infection prevention.

Find out more about WHO’s campaign on hand hygiene and IPC here

If your healthcare facility is not already registered with WHO SAVE LIVES – Clean Your Hands you can register here

A word from the ICAN Chair

Dear ICAN members and fellow Africans,

Thousands of people around the world die every day from infections acquired while receiving health care, infections of this type are known as healthcare associated infections (HCAIs).  This type of infection is particularly prevalent in low to middle income countries. Frequently HCAIs are caused by bacteria which are resistant to many types of antibiotics.   In these cases there are limited antibiotic treatment options available which can ultimately can result in the patients death.  We all know that hands of healthcare workers are the main route of germ transmission in these environments. Hand hygiene is THE most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent health care-associated infections.


ICAN supports the WHO 5 May campaign and urges you to focus on the fight against antibiotic resistance in the context of hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC) programmes. The more the healthcare facilities that register the darker orange the country on the WHO map becomes.  Go the WHO website and register your healthcare facility so lets


More information on ICAN’s support to Turn Africa Orange can be found here

All available WHO campaign resources can be found here 


Prof Shaheen Mehtar

Chairperson, Infection Control Africa Network