The Hand Hygiene for All Global Initiative, co-led by WHO and UNICEF, is launching today, and the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub is proud to be a core partner!
Good hand hygiene is a highly cost-effective public health measure and a cornerstone of safe and effective health care. Hand Hygiene is crucial to protect against a range of diseases, stopping the transmission of COVID-19, diarrhoeal diseases and other outbreak-related diseases. It is also critical to combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The Hand Hygiene for All Global Initiative aims to implement the WHO’s global recommendations on hand hygiene to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic and work to ensure lasting infrastructure and hand hygiene behaviour. This WHO and UNICEF-led initiative calls for countries to lay out comprehensive roadmaps that bridge together national COVID-19 preparedness and response plans with mid- and long-term national development plans to ensure hand hygiene is a mainstay beyond the pandemic. It also proposes a framework for coordination and collaboration among global and regional partners, with the primary aim of supporting and growing country-led efforts and investments.
The Global Initiative is designed around three stages: Responding to the immediate pandemic, Rebuilding infrastructure and services, and Reimagining hand hygiene in society. Each stage has four core dimensions: securing political leadership to embed a culture of hand hygiene; strengthening the institutional and policy environment to drive progress; ensuring the availability of hand hygiene stations, alcohol-based hand rubs and soap and water where they are needed; and drawing on evidence-based behaviour change approaches to encourage sustained hand hygiene practices. The Global Initiative is working with a number of partners to further progress in specific settings, including health care facilities, schools and child-care centres, workplaces, transport hubs, households, institutions and places of worship.
UNICEF and WHO will be supported by a select group of core partners, including but not limited to the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, the World Bank, Sanitation and Water for All, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Global Handwashing Partnership and WaterAid. The Initiative welcomes engagement from a broad range of supporting stakeholders (e.g., governments, NGOs, civil societies, investment banks, philanthropy, academia and the business sector). Such stakeholders must commit to strengthening and streamlining hand hygiene investments, programming and advocacy within their own organization’s efforts and to reporting to the co-leads their efforts and outcomes on an annual basis.
Through the continued development of our evidence-based resources, as well as the launching of our discussion Forum today, the Hygiene Hub will support the Global Initiative’s efforts to encourage evidence-based learning and peer-to-peer exchange.