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BACKGROUND: The cost-effectiveness of a hand hygiene (HH) program in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is largely unknown. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of a HH program in a large tertiary Vietnamese hospital. METHODS: This was a before and after study of a hand hygiene program where HH compliance, incidence of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), and costs were analyzed.The HH program was implemented in 2 intensive care and 15 critical care units. The program included upgrading HH facilities, providing alcohol-based handrub at point of care, HH campaigns, and continuous HH education. RESULTS: The HH compliance rate increased from 25.7% to 57.5% (P < .001). The incidence of patients with HAI decreased from 31.7% to 20.3% (P < .001) after the intervention. The mean cost for patients with HAI was $1,908, which was 2.5 times higher than the costs for patients without an HAI. The mean attributable cost of an HAI was $1,131. The total cost of the HH program was $12,570, which equates to a per-patient cost of $6.5. The cost-effectiveness was estimated at -$1,074 or $1,074 saved per HAI prevented. The intervention remained cost savings under various scenarios with lower HAI rates. CONCLUSION: The HH program is an effective strategy in reducing the incidence of HAIs in intensive care units and is cost-effective in Vietnam. HH programs need to be encouraged across Vietnam and other LMICs.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Infect Control

Publication Date





e93 - e99


Antibiotic resistance, Cost-effectiveness, Hand hygiene, Hospital-acquired infection, Low- and middle-income country, Vietnam, Adult, Aged, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Cross Infection, Female, Hand Hygiene, Humans, Incidence, Infection Control, Intensive Care Units, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Tertiary Care Centers, Vietnam