Clean hands save lives: the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia celebrates World Hand Hygiene Day


Recognizing hand hygiene as one of the most effective measures for infection prevention and control, the WHO Country Office helped celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day with the national slogan "Clean hands save lives".

The event was held on 4 May 2015 at the Medical Faculty in Skopje in the country. It was officially opened by Professor Dr Nikola Jankulovski, Dean of the Medical Faculty in Skopje, Dr Jovanka Kostovska, Head of the Sector for Preventive Healthcare, Ministry of Health, and Professor Dr Aspazija Sofijanova, Director of the University Clinic for Children's Diseases and President of the Macedonian Association of Pediatricians.

Professor Dr Nikola Panovski, President of the Multisectoral Committee for Antimicrobial Resistance of the Ministry of Health, and Professor Dr Kakja Popovska-Jovanovska, President of the Association for Intra-hospital Infections, presented scientific evidence on the increasing rate of intra-hospital and especially of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections in the country, as well as the effectiveness of regular and proper hand hygiene in reducing these rates in many other countries. 

The event aimed to raise awareness among the population and health professionals about the importance of hand hygiene in reducing the spread of communicable diseases and, in particular, hospital-acquired infections that significantly contribute to excess antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance.

It also launched the 4-week online antimicrobial stewardship course, prepared by Stanford University (United States of America) and the Medical Faculty in Skopje, piloted in the country to increase the use of new media for continuous professional education. The course launch was announced by Dr Saskia Nahrgang, Technical Officer Antimicrobial Resistance from WHO/Europe, Dr Elizabeth Robilotti, Stanford University, and Neda Milevska Kostova, Executive Director of CRPRC Studiorum. They presented information on the course and their vision of improved antibiotic use and reduced antimicrobial resistance, in line with the draft global action plan on antimicrobial resistance to be submitted at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015.

This event was organized by the Multisectoral Committee for Antimicrobial Resistance in the Ministry of Health, the WHO Country Office, WHO/Europe, the Medical Faculty in Skopje, the Institute of Public Health and CRPRC Studiorum.