• How Well Are Hand Hygiene Practices and Promotion Implemented in Sierra Leone? A Cross-Sectional Study in 13 Public Hospitals

      Lakoh, Sulaiman; Maruta, Anna; Kallon, Christiana; Deen, Gibrilla F.; Russell, James B. W.; Fofanah, Bobson D.; Kamara, Ibrahim F.; Kanu, Joseph S.; Kamara, Dauda; Molleh, Bailah; et al. (MDPI, 2022-03-23)
      Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) result in millions of avoidable deaths or prolonged lengths of stay in hospitals and cause huge economic loss to health systems and communities. Primarily, HAIs spread through the hands of healthcare workers, so improving hand hygiene can reduce their spread. We evaluated hand hygiene practices and promotion across 13 public health hospitals (six secondary and seven tertiary hospitals) in the Western Area of Sierra Leone in a cross-sectional study using the WHO hand hygiene self-Assessment framework in May 2021. The mean score for all hospitals was 273 ± 46, indicating an intermediate level of hand hygiene. Nine hospitals achieved an intermediate level and four a basic level. More secondary hospitals 5 (83%) were at the intermediate level, compared to tertiary hospitals 4 (57%). Tertiary hospitals were poorly rated in the reminders in workplace and institutional safety climate domains but excelled in training and education. Lack of budgets to support hand hygiene implementation is a priority gap underlying this poor performance. These gaps hinder hand hygiene practice and promotion, contributing to the continued spread of HAIs. Enhancing the distribution of hand hygiene resources and encouraging an embedded culture of hand hygiene practice in hospitals will reduce HAIs.