University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics were nationally recognized last week for their efforts to reduce infections resulting from problems with health care.

The U.S. Department of Health, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America presented UW hospitals with the 2013 Partnership in Prevention Award, according to a UW statement. The press release said UW accepted the award in ceremony in Washington, D.C. Nov. 26.

“It’s recognition of the hard work the entire organization has put in for several years to reduce infections. In that sense, it is very gratifying to be recognized for your efforts,” Dr. Nasia Safdar, the hospital’s infection-control chief and associate professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, said in the statement.

The statement said the hospital has worked to make tremendous reductions in ventilator-associated pneumonia and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. The statement also said these are two of the most common health care-associated infections.

To reduce the number of health care-associated infections, the UW Hospital implemented daily rounds on patients with indwelling catheters and incorporated catheter-removal protocols in the patient’s electronic health record, the statement said.

The statement said the Partnership in Prevention award demonstrates the UW hospital’s work has not gone unnoticed. In 2012, the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections have decreased by more than 25 percent compared to 2011.

Additionally, from the period of January through October 2011 to November through June 2013, there has been an 87 percent drop of ventilator-associated pneumonia cases.

“The award is a tremendous achievement,” Ald. David Aherns, District 15, said. “It shows that it’s really about how the employees have had to change their routines and practices to work to prevent these diseases.”

Additionally, the UW hospitals have introduced the World Health Organization’s hygiene campaign called “Five Moments for Hand Hygiene” into their daily routine, the statement said.

Because of this system, staff hand-washing compliance rates have doubled since 2012, according to the statement.

“Proper hand hygiene is the underpinning of all our initiatives to reduce infections,” Safdar said in the statement. “Once the hand hygiene campaign gained momentum, and everyone bought into it, it took on a life of its own.”

City officials agree the award should be a source of pride for the local medical community.

“I think this award is great for the hospital and the whole medical community and is definitely something to be proud of,” Ald. Lauren Cnare, District 3, said.

Cnare said the award shows how vibrant and active the local medical community is.

She said the award may also work to recruit more bright minds to the Madison area. In turn, she said this will improve the city as a whole.

“This award will help to continue to attract people that are innovative and that are performing very highly in both the medial and science realm. It also adds to our level of attractiveness and helps us grow as a city,” Cnare said.