Expansion of Clean Hands Count Campaign Reaches New Healthcare Audiences

Keeping hands clean by practicing hand hygiene seems like a simple action, and yet it is one of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. In recognition of World Hand Hygiene Day, we are pleased to announce a new phase in a program aimed at improving hand hygiene in healthcare and community settings with continued support from GOJO and a new partner, Staples.

This simple yet effective way to prevent these infections is particularly important for healthcare workers. To help address this issue, the CDC Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, with support from GOJO, announced a hand hygiene campaign in 2016 called Clean Hands Count. The purpose of this campaign is to improve hand hygiene outreach in U.S. healthcare facilities by creating a comprehensive initiative that reaches a broad group of healthcare providers, patients and caregivers.

The 2019 extension of the Clean Hands Count campaign includes new materials designed to encourage proper hand hygiene in dialysis centers and long-term care facilities as well as additional materials translated to Spanish. These materials are intended to empower patients to ask healthcare providers to clean their hands and to guide healthcare personnel in the use of hand sanitizer at key moments during care.

In addition to healthcare settings, improving handwashing and hand sanitizing in community settings, such as homes, schools and offices, is also a key strategy to prevent the transmission of illness and infection. Many diseases are spread in the community because people do not wash their hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water are not available. To improve hand hygiene in community settings, we are collaborating with GOJO, Staples and CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch on a new community-based campaign that will launch in the fall 2019. The efforts will include a full suite of educational materials about the importance of hand hygiene in communities.  

Stay tuned for the launch of the community materials this fall. I am proud of this work, and we look forward to improving the health of healthcare workers, their patients and those in our communities through improved hand hygiene. 

Helene Erenberg, MPA, is the director of major gifts and individual support for the CDC Foundation.