July 10, 2007 / 12:56 PM / 10 years ago

Hospital staff didn't wash hands?

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian hospital has finally persuaded staff, including doctors and nurses, to wash their hands after pointing out the dangers to their own health.

Pointing out the dangers to patient health did not work.

A study this year at Kuala Lumpur’s Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital showed that 40 percent of staff did not wash their hands before touching patients in its intensive-case unit, breaking hospital rules, the New Straits Times said on Tuesday.

Later, the hospital’s infection-control chief spoke to staff about the importance of hygiene and installed voice-recorded health warnings at the entrance to the unit, eventually pushing the compliance rate to 80 percent, the daily said. But the key to success was pointing out the risks to staff health, not patients.

“People wash their hands after handling or visiting a patient because they are conscious about their own health. They are self-centered, not patient-centered,” the paper quoted infection-control chief Dr Nordiah Awang Jalil as saying.

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