The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) convened a launching ceremony of “Save Lives-Clean your hands” campaign in Hanoi on May 5.

The drive aims to increase awareness of bacterial contamination management in hospitals nationwide. This is the sixth consecutive year Vietnam has promoted the global event.

According to Director of the Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Department (under the MOH) Luong Ngoc Khue, bacterial contamination in hospitals is one of top challenges facing Vietnam and the world, given patient vulnerability to bacteria in the hospital.

He noted research studies have proved bacterial contamination in hospital increases mortality rates, antibiotic resistance and overall expenses.

Bacterial contamination in hospitals can be prevented through effective control mechanisms. One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to minimize bacterial contamination is hand hygiene reinforcement programmes which ensure hygiene and safety for both patients and medical workers, he added.

Recently, medical centres have made significant efforts to strengthen awareness among medical workers, patients and their family members of the importance of bacterial contamination management in hospitals and healthcare centres.

A number of Vietnamese hospitals were recognized by WHO and Asia Pacific Society of Infection Control (APSIC) for their outstanding performances in the campaign including the Cho Ray Hospital, General Hospital of Hue and Bach Mai.

Currently, nearly 500 hospitals nationwide have committed to participating in the WHO campaign and 73 hospitals registered to join the event on its website. Vietnam is the fourth of 24 countries to support the programme in the Asia Pacific region, after the Philippines, Australia and China.

As part of a major global effort to improve hand hygiene in healthcare led by the WHO to support health-care workers, the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands annual global campaign was launched in 2009 and is a natural extension of the WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care.

The campaign aims to galvanise action at the point of care to demonstrate that hand hygiene is the gateway to reducing healthcare-associated infection and patient safety. It also aims to demonstrate the global commitment to this priority healthcare area.-VNA