Introduction Hand washing been demonstrated to significantly reduce transmission of hospital-acquired infection. This study was carried to ascertain hand washing practice among care providers in a tertiary facility in Nigeria.
Methods The study was carried out in Federal Medical Center, in South East Nigeria. Questionnaire and checklist was used to assess hand washing practice among 240 care providers and hand washing facilities in clinics and wards.
Result The health workers surveyed included nurses (54.0%), interns (19.0%), resident doctors (12.7%) and medical officers (9.5%). Majority of them (96.8%) knew the importance of handwashing in the prevention of hospital-acquired infections. More than 50% had good knowledge of hand hygiene. About 54% of them will always wash their hands between direct contact with patients, and 68% after an invasive procedure, 92% when hands are visibly soiled, 67% after removal of gloves and 77% after personal body functions. Most common barriers to hand hygiene practice identified included, unavailability of water (61.9%) and alcohol-based agent (69.8%). About 14% of them did not wash their hands when an opportunity to do so presented. Among those that washed their hands the mean duration of hand washing was 39.6±24.4 s. Facility assessment showed that all the wards and clinics had designated place for hand washing. Only one clinic had alcohol cleaning agent and running water, 50% soap, 83.3% liquid detergent, 75% re-usable towel and 91.7% water storage container.
Conclusion The study supports earlier findings that hand hygiene practice in developing countries is relatively low and lack of supplies are barriers to its practice.