IRC Announces New Crowdsolving Challenge to Improve Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

By Henry Crabtree

Posted on

London, England, May 3, 2024 —  The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is launching a new crowdsolving challenge in partnership with Wazoku and SeaFreight Labs. The challenge is called “Improving Health Provider Hand Hygiene” and calls on applicants to propose new or improve existing solutions to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). 

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This latest challenge has an award pool of US$30,000, with US$15,000 earmarked for novel solutions that meet requirements and the other US$15,000 for information about established solutions focused on improved hand hygiene. In recent years the IRC, along with many other global public health stakeholders like the World Health Organization, has placed a growing emphasis on the crucial importance of hand hygiene as part of a strategy to prevent and control the spread of HAIs. 

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An estimated 15% of all hospital patients in low- and middle-income countries will acquire at least one HAI while they are hospitalized and 1 in 10 of those who become infected this way will die as a result. Handwashing can be a challenge in facilities without water or where the water source is far from where patients are treated. Hand sanitizer, so visible during the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, is challenging to keep in stock, as evidenced by the countless empty dispensers visible in public spaces. This challenge represents a search for a new approach to hand hygiene – one that does not require routine replenishment and can work for providers in remote health facilities.  

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“Hand hygiene is a simple yet powerful tool to save lives,” says Kimberly Nicole Pope, Partnerships and Program Development Director at the IRC. “We all stand to gain by identifying and delivering innovative, cost-effective and impactful solutions that make hospitals and clinics safer places. This challenge holds real potential to improve hand hygiene practices and reduce preventable infections.”

This Challenge officially launched on Monday April 29. Submissions will be accepted until Tuesday July 2, 2024. 

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By Henry Crabtree

Wazoku's Community Marketing Manager, Henry is also a life-long Manchester United fan - but we still love him, regardless. When he's not cheering the Reds on, he's working his way through an extensive reading list. Need a book recommendation? He's your man!