Abu Dhabi: Hand hygiene plays an integral part in infection prevention and control and is in the spotlight at present.

The importance of enhancing hand hygiene was the focus of the International Infection Prevention Week press conference held at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) marking the yearly infection control week celebrated since 1986.

"Health professionals, family members and patients have to start becoming aware of the importance of hand washing/hygiene. The hand consists of millions of bacterial cells, even more than our own body cells, and that is the first thing that promotes an infection," explained Lewis Hutchison, Shaikh Khalifa Medical City Quality Director, to Gulf News.

According to a recent discussion in Abu Dhabi regarding infection control and prevention, it was announced that infection control is within the Joint Commission International's top two priority areas among hospitals across the world.

When Shamisa Fred, Infection Control Practitioner first arrived to SKMC, her main objective was to increase the number of isolation rooms for infectious conditions from 12 to 38.

A big part of her efforts include prevention and awareness of infectious conditions, and training approximately 100 staff members on how to train their coworkers across various departments on infection control.

"Since our campaign on infection prevention discussed at the recent medical congress, we have receive up to four calls a day from hospitals located across the GCC region, which is a big accomplishment. Our aim is to join hands with other health care sectors to fight the spread of infectious diseases", she said.

Moreover, Dr. Fred, Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and 18 other organisations across Abu Dhabi are currently focusing on Avian Flu Preparedness in case the virus should arrive in the UAE.

The UAE is currently not under threat of Avian Flu, more commonly known as Bird Flu, but is rather alarmed at cases reported in neighbouring Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Information: Get in touch

For inquiries on infection measures and infectious diseases the department could be contacted through the following email address: infectioncontrol@skmc.gov.ae or 24 hours a day on number 050-789-3882.