World Hand Hygiene Day was celebrated on 5 May with the message that germs are everywhere, so we should make handwashing with soap and water a healthy habit to protect ourselves and our families from getting sick.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hand hygiene saves millions of lives every year when performed at the right moments during health care delivery. It is also a smart investment that offers exceptional return for each dollar invested. Clean care is a sign of respect to those who seek care, and it protects health and other workers who provide that care.

Now is a critical time when countries across the world need to accelerate implementation of lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and increase investments to close gaps in infection prevention and control (IPC), including hand hygiene. Indeed, many countries are demonstrating strong engagement and advancements in scaling-up those actions, but overall, the progress is slow, and gains are at risk.

The WHO’s message is clear; together, we can galvanise action on preventing infections and antimicrobial resistance in health care. Strong and engaged communities of health workers, policy makers and civil society organisations (CSOs) can accelerate and sustain action at the point of care to keep people safe and healthy.

For World Hand Hygiene Day 2023, the WHO put CSOs in focus. Driven by their passion, values and strong social justice agendas, and often in close proximity to the communities they serve, CSOs can spearhead and accelerate change at local, national and international levels.

WHO calls on all CSOs and other partner organisations (e.g. members of the Global IPC Network) to engage with the World Hand Hygiene Day campaign and accelerate progress at achieving effective hand hygiene at point of care.

For more information or to join the campaign visit: