I happened to notice today that the WHO has posted an update to its campaign Save Lives: Clean Your Hands, which aims to get 10,000 hospitals around the world to sign on — by May 5, 2010, which is next week — to a global commitment to improved hand hygiene in hospitals.
As of last week, 8,173 hospitals had signed up (1899 in the United States, FYI).
If I sound skeptical, it's because we all know that merely supporting hand-washing (or the gel equivalent) is an easy thing to do. If you asked any hospital in the US, you would hear 100% support for hand-washing — including in the hospitals where healthcare workers miss 50% of opportunities to wash their hands. It's in the granular details of implementation — and the relentless laser-like focus on execution practiced, for instance, by Novant Health Care in North Carolina, whose story is told in SUPERBUG — that change really happens.
Whether this WHO campaign can bring that focus and create that change... we'll just have to see.
The WHO campaign's page includes videos, guidelines, and plans for a global survey to be executed on May 5.