Our Demonstrator Projects

Inspirational, interdisciplinary partnership projects around Glasgow and the West of Scotland facilitated by Glasgow City of Science & Innovation.

Our Demonstrator Projects

World record attempt for hand hygiene lesson

Hand hygiene lesson

Glasgow City of Science set a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous hand hygiene lesson at multiple venues with 3,089 children from 36 Glasgow primary schools participating.

The project: On 19th March 2014 over 5000 pupils from 62 schools across Glasgow took part in a simultaneous hand hygiene lesson in an attempt to smash the previous Guinness World Record held by the Health Protection Agency England, which featured 2,147 pupils from 21 schools from across the UK. The project was the idea of Professor Tracey Howe from Glasgow Caledonian University and Deputy Chair of Glasgow City of Science.

The challenge: Scientific evidence shows that implementing hand hygiene measures reduces risk of illness and can protect health for life and reduce lost days at school. This project was designed as a fun and memorable way to teach an approach that will stay with children as they grow up providing them with potential lifetime habits that will help protect them, their families and communities from infection and disease.

The purpose: To provide an inspirational and memorable introduction to the importance of hand hygiene to primary school children and teachers across Glasgow. The event coordinated by Glasgow City of Science required partnership working to enable all lessons to run simultaneously at the agreed date and time.

The people and partners: The project inspired and co-ordinated by Glasgow City of Science involved partner organisations including; Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow City Council, NHS Scotland, Health Protection Scotland, Glasgow Science Centre, Scottish Government, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Education Scotland, e-bug, National Services Scotland and City of Glasgow College.

The outcomes: Glasgow City of Science set a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous hand hygiene lesson at multiple venues with 3,089 children from 36 Glasgow primary schools participating. (Read about the celebration event: "You've got to hand it to Glasgow!")

A world-wide social media appeal to knitting and crochet enthusiasts helped create over 1,100 woolly bugs mimicking the molecular structures for typhoid, swine flu, penicillium, common cold, cholera, salmonella and friendly bacteria for use in the lessons.

Over 160 student nurses from Glasgow Caledonian University who were qualified in hand hygiene volunteered to work with teachers from each of the participating primary schools to deliver the 40-minute lesson.

All schools were provided with a ‘legacy pack’ including the hand hygiene lesson plan, a set of knitted bugs, a UV light box, training gel, materials for ‘snot runways’ and an understanding of the importance of hand hygiene.

In order for the world record hand hygiene lesson attempt to succeed, organisers had to provide two independent witnesses at each participating school, two time keepers, and one steward per 50 participants and film of the sessions from start to finish to verify the attempt.

The impact: Glasgow City of Science set a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous hand hygiene lesson at multiple venues with 3,089 children from 36 Glasgow primary schools participating. (Read about the celebration event: "You've got to hand it to Glasgow!")

The event obtained widespread media coverage in The Herald, The Scotsman, STV News, BBC Radio and social media (#KnitMeAFriend).

Follow Glasgow's board Knitted Microbes on Pinterest.

Professor Tracey Howe, deputy chairman of Glasgow City of Science, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the response to our world record attempt”.

“However, the most gratifying aspect is that so many children across the city now have a better understanding of the importance of good hand hygiene.”

Professor Jacqui Reilly, lead consultant at Health Protection Scotland, added: “Hand hygiene is the best way to avoid colds, flu and other viruses and is the first line of defence against the spread of many infections, which can disrupt school attendance”.

In the longer term, it is hoped that this engaging, fun and innovative activity will be rolled out and mainstreamed across the local education system with the impact of improving hand hygiene behaviours and in turn improved health and lowered infection rates within schools.

Resources:

Microbe knitting patterns are available for tuberculosis, cholera, salmonella, common cold, swine flu and penicillium:

 

This demonstrator project was updated in March 2015.

 

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