Healthcare-associated infections (infections that occur 48 hours after the day of hospitalisation) are considered a major threat to patient safety. The results of a European study show that in Belgium, at any given time, approximately 7.3% of patients in acute hospitals suffer from a healthcare-associated infection (2017)1 .
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), good hand hygiene should be promoted as one of the most important interventions to prevent healthcare-associated infections in patients2 . In recent years, various campaigns have been organised in Belgian hospitals to highlight the importance of hand hygiene and improve the use of alcohol gel for hands. Before and after each campaign, hospitals observed the extent to which health care providers comply with the regulations for clean hands (percentage of hand hygiene compliance)3.
The figure4 below shows a clear increase over time and after each campaign in the extent to which the guidelines for hand hygiene are adhered to. During the last campaign, hand hygiene compliance (national weighted average) rose from 71.6% pre-campaign (170 participating hospitals) to 78.0% post-campaign (147 participating hospitals). An improvement was observed among all care providers (on average +7.5%) with the best results for nurses.
 Vandael E, Catry B, Latour K. Point Prevalence Study of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use in Belgian acute careVandael E, Catry B, Latour K. Point Prevalence Study of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use in Belgian acute carehospitals: Results of the ECDC PPS 2017. Brussels, Belgium: Sciensano; 2018. 34p. Report Number: D/2018/14.440/37. Availablefrom: http://www.nsih.be/ecdcpps/download_nl.asp
 World Health Organisation. (WHO). Antimicrobial resistance: Global report on surveillance. Geneva 2014. Available from: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/112642/1/9789241564748_eng.pdf?ua=1
 More information on the methodology and results of the hand hygiene campaign can be found in the national report on the NSIHMore information on the methodology and results of the hand hygiene campaign can be found in the national report on the NSIHwebsite (http://www.nsih.be/surv_hh/inleiding_nl.asp).
 Source: National report 7th hand hygiene campagne – www.nsih.be