LNSLNS We thank our colleagues from Freiburg for their correspondence. Their letter emphasizes the beneficial linking of hand hygiene and skin protection, as well as the fact that potential for improvement exists in many medical institutions. For this reason, many hospitals have welcomed the services provided by the clean hands campaign, including information and training materials, brochures, argumentation aids, consistent documentation systems for monitoring compliance with hand disinfection measures, and usage data for alcohol containing hand disinfectants. However, the main issue is that because of the campaign, the large scale participation of medical institutions, and their manifold activities, have substantially raised awareness for the topic on Germany.

Nationwide, more than 600 hospitals and other healthcare institutions are participating in the clean hands campaign. For hospitals that have been participating since the early days of the campaign—early 2008—we have provided an initial analysis of the potential for improvement. The average increase in the use of alcoholic hand disinfectants for these hospitals (a surrogate parameter for compliance with hand disinfection measures) was as high as 13%.

The aim is not only to improve the situation further but to achieve a sustainable effect by fundamentally changing attitudes, and to thus reduce the risk of infection during medical treatment even further.
DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0139b

Prof. Dr. med. Petra Gastmeier
Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin,
Campus Benjamin Franklin
Hindenburgdamm 27, 12203 Berlin, Germany
petra.gastmeier@charite.de

Conflict of interest statement
The author declares that no conflict of interest exists according to the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
1.
Kampf G, Löffler H, Gastmeier P: Hand hygiene for the prevention of nosocomial infections [Händehygiene zur Prävention nosokomialer Infektionen]. Dtsch Arztebl Int 106(40); 649–55. VOLLTEXT
1. Kampf G, Löffler H, Gastmeier P: Hand hygiene for the prevention of nosocomial infections [Händehygiene zur Prävention nosokomialer Infektionen]. Dtsch Arztebl Int 106(40); 649–55. VOLLTEXT