CMV Action was delighted to support the launch of the Handz campaign in parliament on 25th November. The Handz campaign is a cross-party collaboration, led by by Andrea Jenkyns MP, focussed on promoting good hand hygiene to prevent infection.
Washing hands carefully after coming into contact with small children's bodily fluids is one of the measures that can reduce risks of CMV infection in pregnancy. Whilst most women say they would already wash their hands after changing nappies, fewer are aware of the importance of washing hands after feeding children or coming into contact with saliva-covered dummies or toys.
prevention of MRSA and other infections that can be acquired in health and care settings. We attended the launch to highlight the potentially devestating impact of infections in pregnancy and the important role that hygiene precautions can play in reducing the risk of these infections. It was a great opportunity to meet parliamentarians who are concerned about these issues. We talked about CMV with Health Select Committee members, advisers to the All Party Parliamentary Group on patient safety and the Chief Medical Officer as well as MPs. Most were shocked to hear how many babies are affected by congenital CMV and that discussions about risk reduction are not always part of routine antenatal care. We've had several offers of support to raise awareness as a result.
The launch featured inspirational speeches by Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies and Andrea Jenkyns. Dame Sally Davies reminded everybody that hygiene measures should be the first line of defence in reducing infection. They are simple and proven to be effective. Andrea Jenkyns talked about her own emotional journey of losing her father to MRSA infection and promising him she would take work forward to raise awareness about prevention.
As a first step the campaign is asking MPs to raise awareness in their local community and educate primary school children and their teachers about good hand hygiene. You can ask your MP to get involved at www.handz.org.uk.
This is just the start of a great campaign and we look forward to working with patient groups and parliamentarians to raise awareness of hand hygiene over the coming year.