Fatima Khan, Bhanu Chaudhary*, Asfia Sultan, Mohammad Salman Shah, Pushkar Kumar and Haris M Khan
Article publication date: 2022-04-28
Vol. 39 No. 2 (special), pp. 37-47.


Hand Hygiene, COVID-19, compliance.


Introduction: Hand Hygiene is the cheapest, easiest and the single most effective measure to reduce cross-transmission of infection from one patient to another and from the healthcare workers to patients and vice versa. Multiple studies have shown a decrease in healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) rates after improvement in hand-hygiene compliance. Despite being the simplest procedure adherence to the hand hygiene recommendations remains well below 50% and healthcare workers repeatedly observed as being poor compliers.

Objective: This study was planned to access the impact of covid-19 pandemic on the compliance of infection control practices at a tertiary health care centre in India.

Methods: Institution-based cross-sectional study was used to assess the impact of covid-19 pandemic on attitude, knowledge and on the compliance of hand hygiene practices at a tertiary health care centre in India.

Results: A marked difference was observed in the availability of resources for hand hygiene i.e., 48 (96%) locations and the display of instructions for hand hygiene 50 (100%). A significant difference was also observed among the knowledge of the steps of hand hygiene {2019: 16(32%; 2020: 33 (66%)} and of the moments of hand hygiene {2019: 27 (54%); 2020; 44 (88%)}. (ϰ2 = 79.2, df =1, p = 0). In 2020 (during COVID -19 pandemic) a significant increase in compliance was noted in most of the departments with highest compliance rate of ICUs (100%), followed by OTs (91.7%), paediatrics (95.8%) obstetrics and gynaecology (90.6%), surgery (86.5%), blood bank and laboratories (85.7%). However, unlike the other parameters, the compliance of hand hygiene during the previous year (2019) and during 2020 (COVID -19 pandemic, was poor with no significant difference in compliance of hand hygiene practices even during the pandemic. Of all the 5 moments suggested by WHO, maximum compliance (36% in 2019 and 60% in 2020 pandemic) was after body fluid exposure.

Conclusions: Hand Hygiene should be made a national priority. Active involvement by healthcare administrators, national and local governments should be committed to make hand hygiene a mandate for patient safety. Accessibility to hand hygiene products like soap and water and/or alcohol-based hand rubs and written and verbal reminders to staff are essential to improve the compliance of hand hygiene. Thrust should also be given to hand hygiene as a research subject.