Standard precautions: Hand hygiene

Most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way. The WHO Guidelines on hand hygiene in health care support hand hygiene promotion and improvement in health care facilities worldwide and are complemented by the WHO multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy, the guide to implementation, and implementation toolkit, which contain many ready-to-use practical tools. This module has been prepared to help summarize the WHO guidelines on hand hygiene, associated tools and ideas for effective implementation.

Please note: These materials were launched on 25/02/2020.

Language: English

Course information

This course is also available in the following languages:

français - Português - العربية - Русский - Español - 中文 - Nederlands - Soomaaliga - Türk - සිංහල- தமிழ் - Shqip - македонски - Tetun - Казақ тілі - Հայերեն - ქართული ენა

Overview: The hands of health care workers (HCWs) play a critical role in keeping patients safe. If HCWs do not clean their hands at the right moments, using the proper methods, they can transmit infection-causing microorganisms through their hands from one patient to another. Performing hand hygiene at key moments is an important health care intervention. Hand hygiene reduces the transmission of microorganisms (including those that are antibiotic-resistant), increases patient safety, and decreases health care-associated infection (HAI). Effective, timely hand hygiene is a cornerstone of infection prevention and control.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • describe hand hygiene as a critical component of infection prevention and control;
  • identify the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene;
  • discuss glove use and hand hygiene during patient care activities;
  • demonstrate the correct way to wash hands with soap and water according to the WHO-recommended method;
  • demonstrate the correct way to perform hand hygiene with an alcohol-based handrub (ABHR) according to the WHO-recommended method; and
  • discuss key issues and considerations of hand hygiene in a health care facility.

Course duration: Approximately 1 hour.

Certificate: A Record of Achievement will be issued to participants who receive at least 70% on the post-test. You have an unlimited number of attempts to meet the threshold. Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

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Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 70% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.