Hand hygiene practices among health care workers at Naivasha district hospital maternal and neonatal units.
Background Health care associated infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality especially among the vulnerable groups like the neonates and a majority of these infections are due to contamination of HCWs hands. Hand hygiene is a simple cost effective measure for preventing infections related to healthcare. Morbidity and mortality resulting from healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) can greatly be reduced by adherence to the recommended hand hygiene guidelines. Objectives The objectives of this study were to determine the hand hygiene practices among healthcare workers (HCWs) in the maternal and neonatal units at Naivasha District Hospital and assessing their knowledge and attitudes regarding HCAIs and the importance of hand hygiene. Study design A descriptive cross sectional study where HCWs were observed using a standard WHO observation tool to assess hand hygiene practices and later a questionnaire administered to assess knowledge and attitudes as well as barriers to effective hand hygiene. Conclusion Theoverall compliance on hand hygiene among the HCWs was at 32.5 % a figure lower than the global one of 39%. The highest compliance rates were commonly seen after patient procedures. The overall knowledge on hand hygiene was good at 75%.The common barriers to effective hand hygiene noted were lack of alcohol based hand rub 68/79(86.1%), forgetfulness 48/79(60.8%) and 51/79(64.6%) opted to use gloves. Recommendations The hospital’s senior management team should support and openly promote hand hygiene. There should be clear and simple instructions on hand hygiene made visible for every health worker at their work stations. Health care workers should receive regular training on correct hand hygiene practices and alcohol based hand rubs and towels should be made available in the units.