The Global Hygiene Council (GHC) has released a report emphasizing the importance of prioritizing hygiene in home and community settings in pandemic preparedness plans. The report, titled “Making Hygiene Matter,” highlights the crucial role of hygiene in reducing infections and combating the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In 2019, AMR was associated with 4.95 million deaths, a number that could rise to 10 million deaths annually by 2050 without intervention.
Elizabeth Scott, GHC Chair and Microbiologist and Professor Emerita at Simmons University in Boston, USA, asserts that good hygiene is a cost-effective, accessible solution to prevent infections and save lives. The GHC report outlines four pillars for change: sustaining hygiene awareness in everyday settings, reducing the need for antibiotics through hygiene practices, recognizing the economic benefits of effective hygiene, and driving behavior change to establish strong hygiene habits.
As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the value of hygiene practices, the GHC encourages governments, policymakers, and health authorities to adopt and implement the report’s recommendations in response to existing and future infectious disease threats, including AMR. This action will help protect millions of lives and ensure a healthier future for all.