About Hand Hygiene New Zealand

Our message is simple: Clean hands save lives.

Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are a significant problem worldwide. Up to 10 percent of patients admitted to modern hospitals acquire one or more HAIs. Nonetheless, many HAIs are preventable through simple interventions such as the performance of appropriate hand hygiene by healthcare workers. In fact, hand hygiene is considered to be one of the most important measures in the fight against HAIs making it a key patient safety issue within New Zealand hospitals.

The HHNZ programme aims to support DHBs to reduce HAIs by encouraging good hand hygiene practices among healthcare workers, as a way to improve the quality and safety of patient care.

Auckland District Health Board (Auckland DHB) has delivered the HHNZ Programme to district health boards (DHBs) throughout the country since 2008 on behalf of the Quality Improvement Committee and now the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission). The HHNZ Programme is one component of the Commission’s Infection Prevention and Control Programme, which aims to reduce the harm and cost of HAIs.

During 2015, HHNZ will transition from a nationally-led programme to a regional collaborative approach. The Commission and HHNZ have adopted this approach to ensure the long term sustainability and visibility of hand hygiene improvement across the health sector. This will support DHBs to devise regional solutions that will continue to drive hand hygiene improvement.

Auckland DHB will transfer key national functions of the HHNZ Programme to the Commission by the end of 2015. For more information about the Commission visit:

HHNZ objectives include:

  • Encourage participation by all district health boards in the Hand Hygiene New Zealand quality improvement programme, including consistent collection, submission and reporting of hand hygiene performance data, according to the HHNZ audit schedule.
  • Support DHBs by providing a quality improvement framework that allows them to take ownership and devise their own hand hygiene improvement strategies to suit their unique environments.
  • Decrease healthcare associated infections through programme implementation, in particular by:
    • Encouraging and supporting hand hygiene culture change to increase performance with best practice hand hygiene; and
    • Maintaining and promoting effective local and national monitoring and reporting of hand hygiene performance and rates of hospital-acquired infections.
  • A national hand hygiene performance rate of 80% by 30 June 2015.