WHO campaign poster: Unite for safety: clean your hands WHO campaign poster: Unite for safety: clean your hands

Unite for safety:
May 5th is World Hand Hygiene Day

Let's fight germs together!

Hand Icon Together
Joining forces to prevent infections
One of the most important ways to prevent infection is by cleaning your hands. That is why the WHO (World Health Organization) is again campaigning for more hand hygiene on May 5th. WHO calls on everyone in the healthcare system to join under the motto "Unite for safety: clean your hands". After all, we can only successfully prevent infections by jointly creating a culture where hand hygiene and infection prevention are valued and taken seriously!

Why hand hygiene is so important


It's this simple: according to the WHO, up to 50% of preventable healthcare-associated infections could be prevented through proper hand hygiene – among patients as well as healthcare workers themselves1. However, factors such as a lack of education, inadequate access to clean water or too few opportunities for hygiene at the point of care mean that healthcare-associated infections are still a major burden in the healthcare sector in 2022.

The facts


  • Globally, one in four health facilities lacks a basic water supply – affecting the health care of 1.8 billion people1.
  • Even in high-income countries, hand hygiene compliance rarely exceeds 70%1.
  • In Europe, 8.9 million healthcare-associated infections occur annually in acute and long-term care facilities1.

Moreover, healthcare-associated infections do not only affect health but also pose an enormous economic risk to healthcare institutions through staff shortages or prolonged bed occupancy. According to the WHO, improving hand-hygiene measures can lead to significant savings, on average 16 times the cost of implementing them1.

Joining forces for infection prevention


It's time we work harder to protect patients' lives and make healthcare safer. Whether you are a building manager, a healthcare provider, a policymaker, or a hospital director, we know you are already giving your best – and for that we would like to say thank you. Keep up the good work, take the right actions and challenge your routines. Be part of it and help shape an organisational climate today and in the future in which hand hygiene and infection prevention are essential components!

Our five principles for hand hygiene

We asked experts what is most important to them when it comes to hand hygiene. Based on these findings, we have developed five guiding principles that help prevent infections:

Reminder # 1: Hand hygiene is more than just disinfection – hand washing, skin care, and gloves play a big part, too.

Reminder # 2: It is not only important to disinfect hands according to the indication, but also to disinfect them correctly – in particular, by completely wetting the hands and rubbing them until dry.

Reminder # 3: For healthcare workers, hand washing is not an alternative to hand disinfection; both are important as well as complementary measures for them.

Reminder # 4: Healthy skin is key for effective hand hygiene – so take good care of your hands.

Reminder # 5: Gloves serve to protect both the healthcare worker and the treated patient from infection; but are not an absolute barrier to pathogens. They are therefore not a substitute, but merely a useful addition to hand disinfection.

You can read more about our 5 reminders and read the full interviews with our experts here.

The right hand disinfectant

Illustration: Sterillium® bottle


The COVID 19 pandemic has shown us that not all hand disinfectants are the same. A good product with the right spectrum of activity must reliably inactivate the respective pathogens, but also be skin compatible. You can find out more about the different activity spectrums here.

The Sterillium® family of products offers different spectrums of efficacy, but all products meet the quality standards of a high-quality hand disinfectant due to their high alcohol content and proven skin care complex.


1World Health Organization
https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hand-hygiene-day/2021/key-facts-and-figures (last retrieved: 31.03.2022)

Use disinfectants safely. Always read label and product information before use.

HWG-Pflichttexte” for our Sterillium® range in English and German, also below in the footer.

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