Hand Hygiene – relaying the message at five hospitals in the South Western Sydney Local Health District in 2017

Miss Siu Mee Janet Li1, Ms Emina Ryan2, Ms Verily Thomas2, Ms Yiwen Pan2, Ms Michelle Callard2, Ms Arene Smuts2, Ms Huixin Liao2, Ms Jennifer Caldwell2, Ms Lydna Ong2, Ms Donna  Schmidt2, Dr Michael Maley1

1Sydney Southwest Pathology Service, Sydney, Australia, 2Infection Prevention Network, Sydney Southwest District, Sydney Southwest, Australia


Hand hygiene is the cornerstone of  infection prevention. The WHO calls for hand hygiene promotion on the 5th of May each year. In response we organised a District-wide hand hygiene relay covering Liverpool, Bankstown, Fairfield, Campbelltown and Bowral hospitals. Our aim was to raise awareness of the importance of hand hygiene in these five hospitals.


The Infection Prevention Network (IPN) at South Western Sydney Local Health District initiated meetings to engage all the infection prevention nurse consultants at the five hospitals to call for their support to run the relay. The IPN also identified key stakeholders locally to increase the chance of a successful relay. The IPN worked collaboratively to share ideas and logistics in preparation for the relay.


During the first week of May 2017, each of the five hospitals ran a successful local Hand Hygiene relay. The relay commenced at Fairfield and finished at Bowral achieving 1951 moments of hand hygiene over 12 hours. Our LHD Chief Executive came to bless the relay as the Hand Hygiene Patron. The political commitment from the top enabled each hospital to send a strong message to staff, patients, carers and the community that hand hygiene is at the forefront of our practice.


The hand hygiene relay raised the political commitment and the awareness of the importance of hand hygiene at the five District hospitals. The IPN planted this seed to nurture and grow a strong hand hygiene culture in our District for the years to come.


Janet is the Senior Hospital Scientist at Sydney Southwest (SSW) Pathology Service. She works with the Infection Prevention Practitioners at SSW District Hospitals on investigations of staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia; surveillance of Clostridium difficile and surgical site infections. Janet is an Epidemiologist who had previous experience with World Health Organisation in dealing with SARS in Hong Kong and Cholera outbreak in PNG.

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