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Wash your hands: Irish start-up aims to beat hospital superbugs worldwide

The Irish company has been chosen by the WHO to promote hand hygiene globally. Thirty-five percent of healthcare facilities are at an inadequate or basic level.

Pictured at a Hand Hygiene day in the Mater Private Hospital, Dublin, a nurse demonstrates the innovative SureWash system which is now in use at the hospital.
Pictured at a Hand Hygiene day in the Mater Private Hospital, Dublin, a nurse demonstrates the innovative SureWash system which is now in use at the hospital.

TEN PER CENT of hospitalised patients in the developing world and seven per cent of those in the developed world will acquire health care-associated infections.

Those figures rise to 30 per cent in intensive care units.

That’s according to the World Health Organisation, which has chosen an Irish start-up company as one of just 15 to improve hand hygiene in healthcare facilities around the globe.

SureWash has developed a system for training healthcare workers to wash their hands effectively, through a combination of e-learning and video measurement technology. It was developed over five years in Trinity College Dublin.

A WHO survey has found that 35 per cent of healthcare facilities are at an inadequate or basic level of hand hygiene around the world.

The Mater Private Hospital was the first in Ireland to use the SureWash system, which allows staff to practice their hand-washing techniques using video technology, monitoring their progress over time.

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It was trialled in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and by the UK Department of Health in the Mid Essex NHS Trust, UK. Hand hygiene rates per patient per day increased by 156% and compliance with technique increased 703%.

Earlier this year it was reported that rates of MRSA had dropped to the lowest recorded in Ireland, according to the HSE, although the figures were still described as “relatively high”.

In the European context, Ireland ranked 9th out of 28 countries reporting MRSA rates to the European Centre for Disease Protection, EARS-Net – bringing it to a comparable level with the UK or Southern European countries.

Researchers discover new form of MRSA superbug in two Dublin hospitals>

Superbugs evolving faster than medicine, worried experts warn>

Rates of MRSA drop to the lowest recorded in Ireland>

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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