Hand Hygiene

If it takes you a minute to think if your hands are clean, take a minute and clean them! – Dr Nkatha Gitonga


Did you know that hand hygiene is the primary measure to prevent infections?

Effective cleaning of hands takes about 20- 30 seconds


This article aims to sensitize our communities that improving hand-washing and general hand hygiene practices is a critical measure for disease prevention.


Parents, did you know that teaching your children how to wash their hands at an early age can create a lifelong healthy habit? Why not try singing a song that last 30 seconds to reinforce the habit.


Many diseases and conditions can be spread in the community as a result of people not washing their hands properly with soap and water. Germs causing diarrhoea and vomiting, are transmitted from poorly washed or unwashed hands; particularly after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.


Moments for hand washing

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating or feeding your child
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the bathroom, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or waste
  • After touching garbage
    • After visiting a healthcare facility (Note: use the provided alcohol-based hand sanitisers while moving around the health-care facility)


    Hand hygiene tips:

    • Carry alcohol-based hand sanitisers (which contain at least 60% alcohol content) for the moments when soap and water are not accessible. Remember this should not replace soap and water!
    • Frequently missed areas when washing hands are the thumbs, fingertips and between your fingers
    • Do not feel shy asking your healthcare professional to clean their hands before examining you. Ask for clean hands it is your right!


    The World Health Organisation’s 7 steps to Washing your Hands Properly are as follows:

    Step 1 – Wet your hands and apply enough soap (coin size)

    Step 2 – Rub your palms together

    Step 3 – Rub the back of each hand

    Step 4 – Rub both your hands while interlocking your fingers

    Step 5 – Rub the back of your fingers and the tips of your fingers

    Step 6 – Rub your thumbs and the ends of your wrists

    Step 7 – Rinse both hands properly with water


    Clean handssaves lives!

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