Introduction: Nosocomial infections have long been neglected in Sub-Saharan Africa, and hand hygiene (HH) is usually neglected in hospital settings. This study aimed to provide baseline data on HH compliance among health workers and HH resources in a large West African teaching hospital.
Methodology: A cross-sectional, unobtrusive observational study assessed personal and care-related HH compliance among doctors and nurses and HH resources in 15 service provision centres of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Ghana, in 2011. Data was collected with an infection prevention checklist and health worker HH compliance form, based on World Health Organization guidelines.
Results: Care-related HH compliance of doctors and nurses was low and basic HH resources were deficient in all 15 service centres. Care-related HH compliance among doctors ranged from 9.2% to 57% and 9.6% to 54% among nurses. HH compliance was higher when risk was perceived to be higher (i.e., in the emergency and wound dressing/treatment rooms and labour wards). The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) showed the highest level of compliance among health workers. Facilities for HH, particularly alcohol hand rub and liquid soap dispensers were shown to be deficient.
Conclusions: Care-related HH compliance among doctors and nurses in this large West African hospital is low; however, the NICU, which had implemented HH interventions, had better HH compliance. HH intervention programs should be designed and promoted in all service centres. Also, the introduction of alcohol-based hand rubs as an accessible and effective HH alternative in Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is recommended.