MRSA Action UK urges Departments and Ministers to work together to tackle antimicrobial resistance and promote hand hygiene in schools

Following successful work with a local school and hospital, collaborating with hand hygiene poster competitions, MRSA Action UK wrote to the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, highlighting just how schemes such as these could be promoted to schools nationally. Regrettably the letter was met with some resistance by a civil servant responding to the effect that this guidance would not be promoted and that schools were free to choose how they take forward their Personal Social Health and Economic curriculum.

We referred the civil servant to e-Bug for Schools. e-Bug is a free educational resource for classroom and home use and makes learning about micro-organisms, the spread, prevention and treatment of infection fun and accessible for students of all ages. This has been developed at some expense by Public Health England but MRSA Action UK believes not promoted emphatically enough to schools.  We believe there should be much more of an emphasis placed on the importance of the issue of antimicrobial resistance, and the science and technologies that need to be developed if we are to keep ahead of the curve.

Global Handwashing Day was also drawn to the attention of the Department for Education. Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries. Each year on October 15, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries around the world. Global Handwashing Day was originally created for children and schools, but can be celebrated by anyone promoting handwashing with soap.

Other examples include “A Childs Guide to Hand Hygiene” which is full of ideas and materials developed to encourage children to make hand washing part of their everyday routine. This was produced by the NHS in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire, in partnership with Hull City Council and East Riding Council.

Such initiatives have been supported by Public Health England, and Department for Education, but are not considered as a core part of the schools’ curriculum nationally.

The materials are out there and encouragement from the Department for Education, to assist Public Health England in trying to deal with the problem of antimicrobial resistance, is something that Ministers should, in our Charity's opinion, consider.

Departments and Ministers need to work together, and we believe collectively both departments can make a huge difference.



Derek Butler
MRSA Action UK
Telephone: 07762 741114