GCU and Glasgow City of Science break hand hygiene world record

20 March 2015

GCU staff, nursing students and schoolchildren at the Science Centre

GCU staff, nursing students and schoolchildren at the Science Centre

Glasgow City of Science, with a helping hand from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and schoolchildren from across the city, is a world record breaker.

The organisation has set a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous hand hygiene lesson at multiple venues.

3,089 children from 36 Glasgow primary schools were successful in the record attempt, smashing the existing one held by the Health Protection Agency in England of 2,147 children from 21 schools from across the UK.

In March last year, thousands of primary schoolchildren took part in a simultaneous lesson at Glasgow Science Centre or via a live link up from their schools. Led by 160 student nurses from GCU, the 40-minute lesson showed pupils that good hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent the spread of illnesses.

Pupils were introduced to the science of common microbes using versions knitted and donated by members of the public from all around the world and learned how far a sneeze can travel using a ‘snot runway’.

Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn joined some record-breaking pupils at a celebration event at Glasgow Science Centre where he collected an official Guinness World Record certificate on behalf of the Scottish Government.

He said: “Tackling and reducing infection in our hospitals and the wider community is a top priority for this Government. On behalf of my Ministerial Colleagues and the Scottish Government, I would like to congratulate all the children and organisations who were involved in this project. This world-breaking record has been a fantastic achievement demonstrating again that Scotland leads the way in reducing infections. Today’s award is very well deserved.”

Professor Jacqui Reilly from GCU and Health Protection Scotland said: “Hand hygiene is the most important measure we can all take to reduce risk of illness from infections and viruses. Learning when to do hand hygiene, such as before preparing food and after visiting the toilet, together with the correct technique to do it, protects health for a lifetime. HPS is coordinating the implementation of the e bug programme containing the hand hygiene lesson across the whole of Scotland to this end. The programme includes the correct technique for hand hygiene which is based on evidence from research carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University.”

Professor Tracey Howe, GCU and deputy chair of Glasgow City of Science said: “We are delighted that we have been successful in our record attempt and I would like to thank all the pupils, teachers and volunteers who helped us make it such a success.”