Introduction: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) affect millions of patients worldwide annually. Hand hygiene (HH) has been identified as the single most important factor preventing HAIs. The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge regarding hand hygiene practices amongst health care workers, and identifying the areas of gaps in their knowledge.

Methods: This cross-sectional analytic study was conducted in two university hospitals in Mashhad, Iran between May 2014 and September 2015. Data was collected using a translated version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Hand Hygiene Knowledge Questionnaire (revised 2009). The questionnaire contained questions on the participants’ age, gender, profession, year of the course, formal training in HH and 27 multiple choice and "yes” or “no” questions to assess HH knowledge. Data were entered into IBM SPSS Statistics, Version 16. Descriptive statistical methods and also analytical statistical methods include ANOVA and Independent-samples t-test were used in data analyzing. 

Results: In total, 161 respondents including 32 residents, 92 nurses and 37 nursing assistants enrolled in this study. All study groups had a moderate knowledge of HH. The score of 21% was ≤ 50% (poor) and only 10.6% had a good knowledge score (i.e. the score ≥75%). There was no significant difference in the knowledge level of the participants who had received formal training in HH and those who had not (p=0.68). Also, the mean knowledge score was not associated with age (p=0.12), gender (p=0.84), department (p=0.96) or profession (p=0.43).

Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of applying the multimodal training program addressing providers' knowledge regarding hand hygiene, as well as strategies for cognitive, emotional and behavioral methods such as patient engagement in hand-hygiene interventions.


Keywords: Hand hygiene, Cross infection, Health personnel, Knowledge
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