A survey of hand hygiene practices among Indian medical undergraduates

Med J Armed Forces India. 2022 Sep;78(Suppl 1):S201-S205. doi: 10.1016/j.mjafi.2021.07.003. Epub 2021 Oct 19.


Background: Hand hygiene is the simplest and most effective method to prevent hospital acquired infections (HAI). Compliance with hand hygiene among health providers is, however, widely variable due to significant knowledge gaps and behavioral issues. The knowledge and practices of hand hygiene among medical undergraduate students, the future health workforce in the current COVID-19 pandemic will enable a reality check and ensure course correction at an early stage of their learning.

Methods: An online questionnaire-based survey based on a standard, validated WHO 25-point (multiple-choice question and Yes/No answers) hand hygiene survey was undertaken among medical undergraduate students in an urban city from April to June 2020. Each correct response was awarded 1 point, and an incorrect response was awarded 0 points. The maximum achievable score was 25, and the minimum score was 0.

Results: A total of 457 students with a mean age 20.24 ± 1.27 years completed the survey. A total of 415 (90.8%) students received hand hygiene training in the past three years. Overall 27.6% (n = 126) students had good knowledge, 65.4% (n = 299) had moderate and 7% (n = 32) had poor knowledge of hand hygiene practices.

Conclusions: There were significant knowledge gaps regarding hand hygiene among medical undergraduate students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need to strengthen existing teaching methods to positively impact behavioral change and potentially translate into better hand hygiene compliance among the future health workforce of the country.

Keywords: Hand hygiene; Medical undergraduate students; Online questionnaire survey.