A Global Effort to Combat Infections

Dr. Ilham Kadri, President & CEO of Diversey, Inc.

A Global Effort to Combat Infections

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 5-20 percent of the population in the U.S. gets the flu each year, and approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications. Numerous other infections, such as the common cold, C. diff and MRSA, can easily spread from person to person through unclean hands.

Yet a simple action such as handwashing can have such an extraordinary positive impact on the world around us. Hand hygiene is the most important measure we can take to reduce the spread of harmful germs and prevent infections; yet so many people in the world lack access to clean water, education and other elements necessary to maintain personal hygiene. Thankfully, there’s a global effort aimed at minimizing the impact of infections.  

Global Handwashing Day

The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since then, the event has been dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap to effectively and affordably prevent the spread of diseases and save lives.

This year’s theme, “Raise a Hand for Hygiene,” encourages us to raise our hands and act as hand washing advocates. To promote personal hygiene and gear up for the upcoming cold and flu season, we’ve launched the “Are You Ready?” program. In a time of the year where risks are higher than usual and when kids are back at school, infection prevention should emerge as a common duty. Our goal with “Are you ready?” is to provide you with tools and resources that outline the best procedures and products to use for effective personal hygiene and surface disinfection. By doing so, you can protect your brand, reputation and customers, and reduce employee absenteeism.

Celebrating hand hygiene

We recently announced the winners of our 2015 #handsonmyheart contest, which encouraged individuals to submit photographs of hands worth protecting. We’ve now had the chance to award each deserving winner their prize. Let’s take another moment to congratulate these individuals, which include:

  • Hillary Connon from the UK, who submitted a heart-warming photo of herself embracing her elderly mother for one of the last times. Hillary visited Diversey Care’s offices in Northampton, UK, to receive her iPad prize, and said, “When you look after a really vulnerable person you become even more aware of the importance of hand hygiene. I’m looking forward to using the iPad to stay in touch with my family and friends around the world.”
  • Katleen De Blaere, facility manager of OC Broeder Ebergiste in Belgium, impressed us with a touching photo of herself and a smiling patient at the mental health rehabilitation center. Members of Diversey Care’s Belgian team attended the facility’s yearly event to present a check which will be used to purchase amenities and presents for the patients staying at the residence. As part of the award ceremony, the team set up activities to entertain patients and educate them in hand hygiene. 
  • Diana Bus of Denmark, who shared a photo of her little daughter's hands. When awarded her iPad prize, Diana said that her daughter understands the concept of bacteria and is a great advocate of handwashing despite being just seven years old. Her knowledge comes from her kindergarten days when the students took a course in how to wash their hands properly.