A News Release from the Office of Madeleine Moon MP
Antibacterial and other antimicrobial infections represent a serious threat to public health. On Wednesday, Madeleine joined scientists, campaigners and political representatives from across the UK for the launch of the Handz campaign. By raising public awareness of the importance of hand hygiene, thousands of deaths could be prevented.
The Handz campaign was the brainchild of Andrea Jenkyns MP and has received the support and endorsement of Emma Reynolds MP, Dr Philippa Whitford MP, and Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer.
Poor hand washing leads to 600,000 deaths a year across the globe. These are the innocent victims of inadequate public health information and poor hygiene practices. It is estimated that nearly 30% of commuters on public transport in the UK have faecal bacteria on their hands- a truly gruesome statistic.
Following the launch, Madeleine said:
‘Poor hand hygiene has an appalling human cost. During the campaign launch, I was deeply moved by the stories of those who have lost parents and friends to preventable infections. Though children and elderly people are particularly vulnerable, we are all exposed on a daily basis to hand-transmitted infections.’
‘Since the invention of penicillin almost a century ago, antibiotics have saved the lives of millions of people who would otherwise have died from common infections. However, due to the over-prescription of antibiotics, bacteria has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics; already, antibiotic-resistant infections claim 25,000 lives a year in Europe alone. We have to go back to basics to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria in the first place.’
‘Killer infections such as MRSA, caught and spread in hospitals, often grab the headlines. But whilst it is important that hand-hygiene standards are maintained in the NHS, we must all take responsibility for preventing the spread of infections.’
‘CMV, or cytomegalovirus, is a deadly infection that is commonly transmitted from pregnant mothers to their babies. Around one thousand babies die from CMV every year in the UK and many more are born with debilitating disabilities. By washing our hands with soap and warm water for just thirty seconds, we can all do our bit to prevent the spread of CMV and other infections like it. In short, taking care of the basics can have a transformative impact on public health.’