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New initiative targets hand hygiene

Health chiefs in the Republic of Ireland have launched a public information campaign to promote the importance of hand hygiene in a bid to contain the spread of hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) initiative aims to encourage patients to ask health workers if they have cleaned their hands before treating them.

The campaign will use radio, press, and TV adverts to get its message across to members of the public.

Dr Kevin Kelleher, assistant national director for health protection with the HSE, said: “While hospital hygiene is clearly important, evidence shows that hand hygiene is the single most effective defence against the spread of MRSA.

“Patients and healthcare staff are now much more aware and often more concerned about healthcare associated infection, and we hope that the public education messages we are broadcasting will help to reassure everyone in the hospital that high standards are a priority.”

He added: “Healthcare associated infection is now a feature of all international health facilities.

“It’s not only a question of getting rid of it – it’s how we manage and control it that matters.

“We have to enforce hand hygiene standards, train our staff, educate patients and visitors, and provide facilities that support clean and safe environments.”

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