WHO pilot to test new hand hygiene guidelines

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The World Health Organization announced Thursday it will launch pilot programs to test the feasibility of recommended hand-hygiene interventions in various healthcare settings. The international organization said better hand cleaning could help reduce the threat of emerging infections such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The programs are part of a new push by WHO to reduce the transmission of healthcare-associated infections. The organization issued a 170-page document with draft guidelines for hand hygiene practices on Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland.
The guidelines recommend many practices that may be familiar to U.S. healthcare professionals, if not always followed. Among the notables, the guidelines recommend caregivers should clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub both before and after contact with certain patients and situations.
More on the new WHO campaign can be found at http://www.who.int/patientsafety/events/05/global_challenge/en/index.html. The organization hopes to issue final guidelines after receiving feedback from the pilot programs.