Clean Hands Save Lives

Last week the hospital celebrated international hand hygiene day. This was organised by Pak Arnata, nurse in charge of infection control who I sent to Jakarta for advanced training last year. He has really gone from strength to strength since I have known him. And such a lovely gentle man he is too.

I heard on the grapevine that there was going to be a ‘hand hygiene dance competition’ in the car park.

Again, I was surprised by how good the Indonesians are at organising an event. Event management is their “thing”. They love it. I really should know this by now, but I am always pleasantly surprised. I would hesitate to call it an event….it was more an extravaganza! All hospital departments were encouraged to enter a team of 5-6 people to perform a dance using the World Health Org’s steps of hand washing in their routine.

There was a stage, sponsors, prizes, food, drinks and 17 teams. It went for the whole morning. It felt like the whole hospital was there and at times I was a little concerned at who was actually caring for the patients.

I tried my best to get radiology enthusiastic about entering a team, but they said they wouldn’t enter without me. So I agreed, but when the conversation started to lean towards wearing hotpants, I started to get a little nervous. Luckily, for me, radiology is hopeless at organising things like this, so I escaped public humiliation.

And I’m sooo glad we didn’t enter a team, as the competition was very serious and very professional. The routines were amazing. My face hurt from smiling so much. So much effort had been put in to them, particularly the costumes, hair and make-up! Honestly, it was like nothing I’d ever seen before….brilliant. There were so many creative themes, all incorporating hand washing. Bollywood was probably the most popular theme. Everyone had a lot of fun.

One group even sang!

After watching 17 teams dance I was extremely confident that the steps of hand washing were well and truly implanted in to everyones minds. As I sat watching the dancing, I felt that we’d achieved something worthwhile. I was really happy to see that our ideas from our radiology infection control project had been rolled out as well, like our poster of the CEO using alcohol hand rub and a similar design was used for t-shirts too.

Our modified poster

Huge poster out the front of the hospital

Again, it showed me that we, as outsiders, don’t always know what’s best outside our own culture. If this event had been left to me to organise it would have been a big boring disaster. I was so proud of Pak Arnata too and when I went up to him to shake his hand and congratulate him on such a great idea… he simply said ‘Thank you for your inspiration Angie”. That was enough for me.

Pak Arnata



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3 responses to “Clean Hands Save Lives

  1. Sam

    That’s fantastic!

  2. Paul Borella

    Such a great story Ange! You’re making a big difference. I’m not touching the hand rail on the train this morning now. xx

  3. Larissa

    Who could’ve imagined such a fundamental campaign would have got so much traction. Best possible outcome – their total ownership of the competition/festival & the message embedded. Well done Doula Bog! Bloody fabulous.

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