Influencing decision makers

Prof. Didier Pittet, MD, MS, CBE

Director, Infection Control and WHO Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety, The University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine,

Lead Adviser, Clean Care is Safer Care programme, Health and Services Delivery, WHO Headquarter, Geneva, Switzerland.


A decision maker is a person who decides things, especially at a high level in an organization. Most decisions are made by the person who has the power to make decisions —not necessarily the “right” person, the “smartest” person, or the “best” person. If you can influence the key decision makers in your organization, you can make a positive difference.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Clean Care is Safer Care global programme is based around a change model. It fosters partnerships and coordinates activities as set out in its programme plan. By May 2016, more than 140 of the 194 United Nations’ member states had pledged their support to implement actions to reduce healthcare-associated infections, corresponding to 95% coverage of the world population. The finalized WHO Guideline on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare was launched in 2009 alongside a field-tested and validated multimodal improvement strategy. The strategy comprises five critical components: 1) system change; 2) healthcare workers’ training and education; 3) evaluation and performance feedback; 4) reminders in the workplace; and 5) promotion of an institutional safety climate.

WHO has over this time coordinated more than 50 national campaigns and importantly launched the global annual healthcare worker call to action; the SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign to maintain a profile on hand hygiene action at the point of care.

Reasons for the success of Clean Care is Safer Care will be reviewed, including those possibly associated with a positive influence on decision makers.

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