Improving hand hygiene in hospitals—more is betterBMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3931 (Published 28 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3931
All rapid responses
I was interested to read the issue of BMJ on 1st August and I was amazed to see 3 medical studies/reports on the importance of repeated handwashing and the importance of having clean hygienic hands among all medical staff in hospitals in order to avoid a lot of cross infections to patients and a lot of deaths and to save us a lot of money.
No doubt the conclusion today is that we are still all failing to have good compliance with repeated handwashing among our medics?
It is still a wide global medical problem in need of new ways and reinforcements to have a high rate of compliance, especially among our doctors and nurses. It was mentioned that we still need: "education, feedback, reminders, institutional safety climate, goal setting, reward incentives and accountability"
This lack of handwashing and good hand hygiene is still quite a serious medical problem affecting badly our innocent patients and killing many.
A few facts:
-About 15% of patients are infected in our hospitals
In ENGLAND alone:
-We have 100 000 cases of infections
-Leading to 5000 deaths annually
-And costing us over 1 £billion/year
Another hygienic issue that also ought to be addressed is touching a lot of unclean medical equipment, surfaces and furniture around patients.
We would like in this letter to give some Islamic hygienic handwashing solutions to our Muslim doctors/ Muslim nurses/and most Muslim patients as they are in large number today in our clinics and hospitals;
We hope that this Muslim message and reminder to our Muslim medics will help in reducing the large number of cross infections and deaths among our patients and save us economically too.
Amazingly these Islamic instructions on Hygiene and repeated handwashing are interesting and a lot of people are not aware of them:
First, before doing any of our 5 obligatory daily prayers, we are requested in Islam to wash our hands properly 3 times before each prayer: Ablution
Also in handwashing, we are requested to wash our face/eyes/nose/mouth/throat/arms/ears/feet and to rub the front hair with water... These many hygienic washings will avoid a lot of infections.
Secondly, the final Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has asked us also to wash our hands frequentky during the day:
*on waking from sleep; and cleaning the nose too.
*when coming out of the toilet;
*before and after eating any food;
*after touching our genitals or anal area or that of others (as in a doctor's examination);
*after touching a dead body (as we do in hospitals);
*after touching any dirty or suspicious thing;
*when a dog is touched, to wash our hands seven times (one of them in the sand);
We are requested also to clean/brush our teeth in ablution before each of the 5 daily prayers
To have our nails cut always.
To use always the right hand for clean things and eating and touching family members and in shaking hands ... and to use the left hand for other things.
And to take steps to avoid cross infection by not taking the germs to a non-infected person or to pick up the germs from an infected person.
Any Muslim who is obeying GOD and the Prophet and do all these repeated handwashing and all other hygienic measures will be rewarded by GOD, and all his/her sins related to the sinful use of his/her different organs (hands/eyes/mouth...) will go away with the used water as told by the Prophet.
We have all the Islamic refernces for all of these Islamic hygienic and handwashing measures and instructions, which have been described in Islam for moe than 1400 years.
We would finally like to remind and appeal to all Muslim doctors and Muslim nurses and most Muslim patients (as some patients are unable to do these repeated handwashing) who are in our hospitals and clinics to practise these great helpful repeated handwashing and other healthy hygienic measures which are prescribed in Islam, for the sake of our patients and for the health of our nation.
Dr A Majid Katme (MBBCH, DPM)
Ex-President: Islamic Medical Association/UK
Weekly TV Presenter of a Health show
Weekly radio broadcaster
Competing interests: No competing interests