Results of an international pilot survey on health care environmental hygiene at the facility level


      • Health care environmental hygiene practices are lacking around the world.
      • The survey analyzed the components of the WHO multimodal implementation strategy in regards to health care facilities’ environmental hygiene.
      • Many countries lack access to basic adequate supplies and procedures, even in higher income settings.


      Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are a major threat to patient safety worldwide. The importance of the health care environment in patient care is not always adequately addressed. Currently, no overview exists of how health care environmental hygiene (HEH) is performed around the world.


      Our pilot survey tested a preliminary version of a framework for HEH self-assessment. It aimed to gather data to improve the framework as well as evaluate the strengths and challenges in HEH programs around the world, and across resource levels. The survey was developed by a group of experts, and based on the hand hygiene multimodal improvement strategy. The online survey was sent to 743 health care facilities (HCFs) from all of the World Bank income levels, aiming for at least 4 participants from each level. Overall responses were analyzed as a group as well as stratified per income level using OpenEpi.


      Overall, 51 HCFs from 35 countries participated. Almost all HCFs surveyed (50/51, 98%) were found lacking in some or all of the 5 components of the WHO multimodal strategy independent of income level. The results demonstrate the widespread challenges in HEH institutions are facing around the world.


      The feedback from survey participants allowed for the improvement of the self-assessment tool. There is a clear need for more focus on and investment in HEH programs in HCFs worldwide.

      Key Words

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