Hand hygiene in Riobamba, Ecuador
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of hand hygiene in preventing infections because, as the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated, clean care is safe care.
For this reason, hand hygiene is a fundamental element of nursing care that is essential for the prevention of diseases and reducing the transmission of infectious agents during care.
Following an increase in the incidence of infectious processes in the community, we realised we needed to strengthen health promotion and educational activities on hand hygiene in health professionals, and to educate patients who attended local health units.
We developed an educational strategy on hand hygiene in health units involving 59 teachers and 321 students from the Faculty of Health Sciences of the National University of Chimborazo, in the city of Riobamba, Ecuador.
We examined the handwashing knowledge and behaviour of nurses and the families they cared for, including information about the transmission of germs, the perception of personal risk, the required frequency of hand washing, the use of alcohol gels and the specifics of handwashing technique.
We provided evidence-based updates on hand hygiene that were intended to help health professionals reduce the incidence of cross infections during patient care procedures, and promote healthy behaviours in the local population.
The project managed to reach 348 families and 96 health professionals in the health units in the Chimborazo province.
We were able to train the health personnel in their own work environments, which saved us material and financial resources.
At the end of the project, the nursing staff involved expressed a high level of satisfaction with the training, and the patients stated that they were already implementing what they had learned in practice in their daily lives.