Google Doodle honours doctor Ignaz Semmelweis, ‘the father of handwashing’ amid COVID-19 pandemic

Google recognises doctor Ignaz Semmelweis in its Google Doodle on Friday (March 20, 2020) as he was the first person to discover the importance of handwashing to prevent the spread of disease.

Born in Budapest on July 1, 1818,  Dr Ignaz Semmelweis is known as the ‘father of infection control’ as he was the one to introduce hand disinfection standards in obstetrical care. On March 20, 1847, Semmelweis was appointed Chief Resident in the clinic of the Vienna General Hospital, therefore Google choose this day to honour the famous physician. 

Honouring Semmelweis the Google doodle website read, ”Today, Semmelweis is widely remembered as “the father of infection control,” credited with revolutionizing not just obstetrics, but the medical field itself, informing generations beyond his own that handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases.”

Semmelweis is a doctorate from the University of Vienna and a master’s degree in midwifery. During the Childbed Fever outbreak in Europe, Semmelweis played an important role to discover the reason behind it and conducted research and found out that infections were being passed on from doctors – after conducting operations – to patients through their infected hands.

The research work conducted by Dr Ignaz Semmelweis was successful in controlling the growing disease. 

The doodle features an animated video showing the correct technique of handwashing with Ignaz Semmelweis indicating the proper ways.

The video is also a step by Google to spread awareness of preventive measures while the world is facing a health emergency situation due to coronavirus outbreak. The World Health organisation has also urged people to wash hands frequently to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus.