Hand hygiene contributes significantly to keeping patients safe. It is a simple, low-cost action to prevent the spread of many of the microbes that cause healthcare-associated infections (HAI). While hand hygiene is not the only measure to counter HAI, compliance with it alone can dramatically enhance patient safety, because there is much scientific evidence showing that microbes causing HAI are most frequently spread between patients on the hands of health-care workers.
With the monsoon season at its peak and with sa pike in the incidence of seasonal diseases like cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea, H1N1, Respiratory track infections etc, good hand- hygiene can play a major role in the prevention of most these infectious diseases caused by contaminated food and water. The Volunteers City NGO, Helping Hand Foundation which runs “Swachh Gandhi” program at Gandhi Hospital have come up with a Novel concept of creating awareness about ‘Hand Hygiene’ techniques which are seldomly known to patients by using thermocol based boards with embeded images of hand washing techniques.
The Boards also visually explains how the virus/bacteria especially in the case of Diarrhoea which kills 1.3 million children below the age of 5 years globally every year and half of these deaths occur in just 5 countries that includes India as per a UNICEF report.
Dobbala Naresh the volunteer of HHF who created this thermocol boards said:“Our idea is to engage the patient while counselling and with tools like this it is easier to catch the attention and effectively relay the message”. The plan is to cover patients and attenders in all major IP wards and waiting areas so that by learning the details of good hand hygiene technique a lot of infectious diseases can be prevented and attenders visiting the hospital are mostly at risk in large public hospitals of acquiring infections and good hand hygiene can help them prevent the diseases.
The HHF volunteers led by Naresh intend to create more such health & hygiene messaging for the benefit of patients and attenders at GGH covering topics like management of bed sores, waste management, do & don’ts in waiting areas etc. The Swachh Gandhi campaign initiated by HHF earlier this year in Feb, 2018, has reached out to 1100 – 1200 in-patients and double the number of patient attenders in last 24 weeks of its operations at Gandhi Hospital.
The Campaign mainly covers sensitizing patients /attenders on how to keep the hospital premises clean by following basic rules on waste disposal and also on the importance of personal hygiene – The Volunteers of the NGO also clean the outside premises of hospital 2 days in a week. Some of the visible changes in the hospital setting after the campaign has been initiated has been that personal hygiene of patient/attenders have significantly improved as they are now using soap and using face mask or handkerchiefs to prevent spreading of germs.
“Our Volunteers have counselled attenders not to bring children into wards and this seems to be working well and one attender per patient norm is also being followed largely said, Mr. Mujtaba Hasan Askari’ of Helping Hand Foundation.
Gandhi Hospital Superintendent, Dr. P. Shravan Kumar said “We are the first in the state-run hospital to run a sensitization program on hygiene and sanitation, although more is desired to be done but we are seeing positive behavioural changes in patients and their attenders towards hygiene after the program has been initiated”
The NGO said the feedback from the patients and their attenders in improving the infrastructure, sanitation in toilets, seating in waiting areas, adequate lighting and better coordination between sanitary staff and patient attenders has been submitted to the hospital administration for further action.