International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information

About IFH

The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene is the leading scientific authority on home hygiene.

It is a not for profit, non commercial, Registered Charity (UK Charities Commission Reg No. CH 600 3131998) which was established in 1997 with the mission to promote health and wellbeing through improved hygiene (infection prevention and control) in home and everyday life settings.

The IFH is unique in that it addresses hygiene from the viewpoint of the home and, more importantly, the family or household. It is dedicated to understanding the interrelated actions that family members undertake in their everyday lives to protect themselves from infectious disease:

  • food and water hygiene,
  • handwashing,
  • respiratory hygiene,
  • laundering clothing and household linens,
  • Safe disposal of human and other waste.
  • Care of domestic animals.
  • As healthcare outside of hospitals increases, increasingly our remit extends to healthcare of family members who are infected or at greater risk of infection.

We believe that, if we are to achieve long term change in public attitudes and behaviour, an integrated, family-centred approach to infectious disease and hygiene, as adopted by IFH, is needed. Currently many aspects of family hygiene are dealt with by seperate agencies.

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The Primary Objectives of IFH are to:

  • Raise awareness of the role of home and community hygiene in preventing infectious disease
  • Advocate for increased emphasis on hygiene promotion.
  • Promote understanding of hygiene (infection control) practice in the home
  • Ensure that home hygiene practices are based on the available scientific evidence
  • Make hygiene and infectious disease information readily available.
  • Promote and review research, develop guidelines and drive consensus on issues relating to home hygiene.
  • Bring together key stakeholders from the global community to promote interaction and knowledge transfer.

The information we make available assists public health scientists, government and NGO's, opinion formers, health professionals (particularly infection control), public society and the health professional and consumer media. The IFH is also actively engaged in advocating for home hygiene among national and international policy makers.

The IFH work is global, covering both developed and developing countries and embracing all socio-economic groups and living conditions. The IFH does not communicate directly with the public – our aim is to give effective support to those who do.   In 2013 IFH produced an “activity review” which gives a more detailed overview of who we are, what we do, and what we have achieved.

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What is Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene refers to the range of activities which the family's need to undertake to protect themselves from infectious disease. It includes food and water hygiene, handwashing, safe disposal of human and other waste. It also includes infection prevention and control in home healthcare (caring for family members who are infected, or at greater risk of infection).

One of the key actions which IFH has undertaken has been the development of a risk management approach to home hygiene. This has come to be known as “targeted hygiene” The risk-based or targeted approach has been used by IFH as the basis for making evidence-based decisions about home hygiene and hygiene procedures.

For more information try our 'What is Home Hygiene?' page.

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IFH Scientific and Communications Activities

IFH works through a range of activities and projects including Scientific Advisory Board meetings, production of scientific and other materials, conferences, satellite symposia, workshops, exhibition stands, news sheets, e-mail alerts and one-to-one meetings.

Through its work, IFH has developed a comprehensive range of materials in different formats to enable communication with, and give support to, the different segments of our target audience. These range from detailed scientific reviews of the evidence base related to home and community hygiene, to guidelines and training materials, to plain language “facts about” and hygiene advice sheets.

This website is our main communications tool. It is a resource designed for public health scientists, opinion formers, policy makers, NGOs, IGOs, community health practitioners, health professionals and “Public society”. 

We aim to deliver a comprehensive range of materials, both from IFH and other sources, which can be downloaded for free and used by our visitors.  Our website helps us achieve one of our key aims, to facilitate global sharing of information and materials which support the promotion of good hygiene practices.

Our website receives thousands of page views monthly and we send out a minimum of two newssheets a year to our “home hygiene community” registered site users. Join them here.

The activities of the IFH are developed and co-ordinated by the Scientific Advisory Board, the Trustees Board and the IFH Secretariat. The Scientific Advisory Board is composed of hygiene experts drawn from Europe, the USA and South Asia.

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The IFIC Special Interest Group

This is a central resource where hygiene professionals, community workers and others can browse, find information, and exchange knowledge on infection prevention and control issues related to healthcare delivered at home.

The resource has been established by a Special Interest Group of the International Federation of Infection Control. The special Interest group is focussed on “Infection Control in Home and Everyday Life Settings”.

In recent years the amount of healthcare delivered at home has been rapidly increasing.  Protecting these groups from infectious diseases present its own particular challenges.

The increase in “at risk” groups living in the community is not only due to shorter hospital stays, but also the amount of outpatient care now delivered to home-based patients. It also applies to people living in the community who are at increased risk of infection due to underlying conditions such as HIV/AIDS.

All of these groups require not only infection prevention associated with their underlying condition, but also protection from “common” gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin infections which could exacerbate their condition.

Much of the healthcare at home is provided by family members, or is the responsibility of the patient themselves who thus need support and advice.


IFH Activity Review

We are pleased to present our 2013 Activity Review. View the Activity Review for 2013 here.

Our review is a summary of what we have achieved since 1997, with particular focus on current and ongoing activities.

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History

  •  

    First Meeting at Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK.

    March 1997 a group of international hygiene experts met at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, UK. A number of hygiene issues related to health in the home were identified and reviewed, including changing trends in domestically-acquired foodborne infections, the increasing significance of new pathogens and antibiotic resistant bacteria in the community, the increasing numbers of people more susceptible to infectious disease and the consequences of changing trends in healthcare, which result in more people being cared for or nursed in the home environment.

  •  

    IFH Was Born as a Non-Profit NGO

    The meeting resulted in a consensus view that there is a pressing need to raise awareness of the role of domestic hygiene in the prevention of infections acquired in the home. A need to better understand hygiene in the home and to develop hygiene policy for the home was acknowleged. Further meetings to further explore these issues, led to the forming of a non-profit non-governmental organisation, The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH).

  •  

    IFH Organised International Conference

    In 2002 IFH organised international conferences, in London entitled “Preventing infectious intestinal disease in the domestic setting”

  •  

    IFH Organised International Conference

    In 2002 IFH organised a second conference in New Delhi, India entitled “Home hygiene and the prevention of infectious disease in developing countries: a responsibility for all”. The two conferences focused on the topic of infectious intestinal disease in developed and developing countries, exploring each of the “core aspects” of home hygiene. The proceedings of both conferences were published in the “Journal of Infection” and in the “International Journal of Environmental Health Research”

  •  

    IFH Continue Advocacy and Promoting Awareness

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IFH News & Updates

The IFH sends out regular newsheets and information to our registered website users.  Our newsletters give an inisight into current hygiene news & issues, New and existing research publications, promotional and educational  materials.

If you would like to benefit from our newsletters, click here.

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Media Enquiries

If you are a journalist we have a page just for you. Click here to view our 'press page'.

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IFH Trustees

  • Professor Sally F Bloomfield
    Chairman of IFH and Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  • Patrick Cooney
    Former Head of the Environmental and Regulatory Affairs Group for Unilever Home & Personal Care Europe, now retired, UK
  • Professor Chris Griffith
    Emeritus Professor Cardiff School of Health Sciences , University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) and Independent Hygiene Consultant, UK
  • John Pickup
    Chairman IFH Trustees, Consultant in Human and Environmental Toxicity, UK
  • Professor Michael Stillings
    Honorary Professor of Bio-Organic Chemistry, University of Hull, UK

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IFH Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board, Senior Advisors & Expert Panel

The IFH Scientific Advisory Board is responsible for developing IFH scientific and consensus documents and other materials. Where appropriate, the IFH works with others, including expert panels with expertise in specific areas to give advice, assist in development of, or peer review, IFH materials. This collaborative and consensus method of working guarantees the objectivity and independence of the organisation.

IFH Chairman

Sally Bloomfield

Professor Sally F Bloomfield

Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention, Chairman and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of IFH and Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

IFH Vice Chairman

Cornelia McClean

Dr Cornelia McLean

Consultant in pharmaceutical drug and vaccine development; Vice-Chair of IFH; Clinical and Scientific Lead for Healthcare A2Z
 

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IFH Scientific Advisory Board:

Sally Bloomfield

Professor Sally F Bloomfield

Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention, Chairman and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of IFH and Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Sally Bloomfield

Professor Dr Martin Exner

Direktor, Hygiene-Institut, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, Germany

Sally Bloomfield

Professor Kumar Jyoti Nath

President, Institution of Public Health Engineers, India. Former Director, All India Institute of Hygiene Public Health, Calcutta, India

Elizabeth Scott

Dr Elizabeth Scott

Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, Director Of Undergraduate Program in Public Health, Co-director Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community, Simmons College, Boston, MA USA

Carlo Signorelli

Professor Carlo Signorelli

Full Professor of Hygiene & Public Health, and Director, Post- Graduate School of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Parma. Vice President, Italian Society of Hygiene

Carlo Signorelli

Carolien van der Voorden

Senior Programme Officer, Networking and Knowledge Management, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Geneva, Switzerland


Past Members/Senior Advisors

  • Dr Rijkelt Beumer (1997-2006)
    Laboratory of Food Microbiology, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Wageningen University Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • Professor Gaetano M Fara (1997-2009)
    Full Professor of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

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IFH Expert Panel

Hygiene and Public Health

Hygiene in Home Healthcare

  • Dr Jon Otter
    Research Fellow, Centre for Clinical Infection and Diagnostics Research (CIDR), Department of Infectious Diseases, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Kings’ College London; Bioquell (UK), Andover, Hampshire, UK.

Hygiene and public health in developing countries

  • Professor Sandy Cairncross
    Professor of Environmental Health, Director, Well Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  • Dr Valerie Curtis
    Senior Lecturer in Hygiene Promotion, Disease Control and Vector Biology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  • Dr Adriano Duse
    Head, Division of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, SAIMR/NHLS and School of Pathology of the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Dr Eric Tayag
    PPHA Member and Regional Health, Director of Health for Pampanga

Hygiene and Immunity

  • Professor Graham Rook
    Centre for Clinical Microbiology, Department of Infection, University College London, London, UK
  • John Pickup
    Consultant in Human and Environmental Toxicity, UK
  • Dr Ros Stanwell Smith
    Consultant in Public Health, London, UK

Antimicrobial resistance

  • Dr Ronald R. Cutler
    Senior lecturer. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.
  • Dr Peter Gilbert (Past member)
    Reader in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

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IFH Partnerships

IFH does not have any formal partnerships with other organisations, but over the years has developed working partnership with a number of organisations to develop projects and activities of mutual interest. This includes:

Danish Council for Better Hygiene

The Danish Council for Better Hygiene (Rådet for Bedre Hygiejne) was founded in 2008. Its key aims and objectives are to raise awareness of the importance of hygiene in Denmark, and promote good hygiene practices.  The council addresses hygiene issues in all sectors from food to healthcare to hygiene in the home. 

IFH had the opportunity to present the IFH approach to home hygiene at the annual meeting of the Danish Hygiene Council in 2010.  For more details contact Lars Münter: (raad@bedrehygienje.dk)


e-Bug -  Schools Education Project

The e-bug project was launched in  2006, and is funded by the EU Commission and Public Health England.  The aim of the project is to ensure that all children leave school with an understanding of hygiene and the issue of antibiotic resistance. 

The team has prepared teaching resources and interactive websites which are now translated in 27 European languages. IFH had input to the initial development of the teaching resources and continues to promote the project worldwide, wherever opportunities arise.  For more details contact Donna Lesky: (donna.lecky@hpa.org.uk)


Infection Prevention Society

The stated mission of the UK Infection Prevention Society is “to inform promote and sustain expert infection prevention policy and practice in the pursuit of patient or service user and staff safety wherever care is delivered”.    

Where opportunities have arisen, IFH has given support to the activities of the Society, through conference presentations and posters.  In 2003, IFH formed a working party with the Community Infection Control Network to develop the home hygiene Training Resource “Home Hygiene – prevention of Infection in the home – a training resource for carers and their trainers” which is available in hard copy from IPS and is also downloadable from the IFH and IPS websites.


International Federation on Infection Control

The International Federation of Infection Control is an umbrella organisation of societies and associations of healthcare professionals in infection control and related fields worldwide. The goal of IFIC is to minimise the risk of infection within the healthcare setting world-wide through development of a network of infection control organisations for communication, consensus building, education and sharing expertise. 

In 2010 IFIC in partnership with IFH established a Special Interest Group on Infection Prevention and Control in home and everyday life settings (http://www.theific.org/sigs6.asp).  The aim of this group is to provide IFIC members worldwide with a resource through which they can obtain information and exchange knowledge and views on infection prevention and control in home and everyday life setting.  For more details contact the IFH Secretariat: (secretariat@ifh-homehygiene.org)


London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The Hygiene Centre is a research group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which is working develop a better understanding of hygiene and sanitation practices which can be used to inform public health policy. Hygiene is a core domain of work at the Hygiene Centre and the Centre has a long-standing interest in promoting hand washing with soap, most particularly in low income communities in developing countries.

Developing the most effective behaviour change techniques is central to all of the programmes promoted by the Hygiene Centre.   LSHTM partnered with IFH for our 2 international conferences on “Preventing infectious intestinal disease in the domestic setting” in 2000 in London and “Home hygiene and the prevention of infectious disease in developing countries: a responsibility for all” in 2002 in New Delhi. The conferences focused on infectious intestinal disease in developed and developing countries respectively, exploring each of the “core aspects” of home hygiene including water, sanitation and handwashing. For more details contact Eileen Chappell: (eileen.chappell@lshtm.ac.uk)


National Resource on Infection Control

The UK National Resource for Infection Control (NRIC) is a digital library bringing together the best available on-line evidence-based resources on infection control and prevention. Its aim is to be a single-access point to existing resources within infection control for both Infection Control and all other healthcare staff. 

NRIC has partnered with IFH to ensure that resources on infection prevention and control in home settings are promoted to health professionals through both websites.  For more details contact Patty Kostkova: (patty@soi.city.ac.uk)


Royal Society of Public Health

The UK Royal Society for Public Health is an independent, multi-disciplinary organisation, dedicated to the promotion and protection of collective human health and wellbeing. Through advocacy, mediation, empowerment, knowledge and practice the society advises on policy development, provides education and training services, encourages scientific research, disseminates information and certifies products, training centres and processes. In September 2002, in collaboration with IFH, RSPH hosted a symposium on the hygiene hypothesis and its implications for hygiene in London. The proceedings of the meeting were published in a supplement of the RIPH publication Health and Hygiene. For more information about RSPH and its involvement in hygiene promotion contact Janice Constable: (jconstable@riph.org.uk)


The Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community. Simmons College, Boston, Ma

simmons centre for hygiene and health in home and community

The Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community is the first of its kind in the United States and serves as a national and international resource for information and education, applied research, professional training and conferences. The Center focuses on issues relating to hygiene and infection control in areas such as consumer food safety, home hygiene, daycare, preschool, homecare, sports and leisure activity, travel and hospitality. Co- Director Professor Elizabeth Scott is also a member of the IFH Scientific Advisory Board. For more information contact elizabeth.scott2@simmons.edu


Swedish Association for Infection Prevention in the Society (FIPS)

This is an organisation which has been founded in 2013. The association has a “One World – One Health” approach. Members have a mixed background, but representatives from human and animal healthcare predominate. The main objective for FIPS is to decrease the number of infections in society as well as the negative effects microorganisms can have on human and animal health. For more details contact Asa Melhus: (asa.melhus@akademiska.se)


Turkey

Prof. Dr. Özdem Anğ of the Florence Nightingale Foundation of Nursing High Schools and Hospitals, İstanbul, Turkey has established a Public Health Microbiology group which aims to be active in Turkey to help the public in problems concerning home hygiene  , especially in İstanbul. For more details contact Professor Anğ: (bilgi@florencenightingalevakfi.com ) 


Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is a global multi-stakeholder partnership and membership organization that works to save lives and improve livelihoods. It does so by enhancing collaboration among sector agencies and professionals who are working to improve access for the 2.5 billion people without safe sanitation and the 780 million people without clean drinking water. Through its work, WSSCC contributes to the broader goals of poverty eradication, health and environmental improvement, gender equality and long-term social and economic development.

WSSCC supports coalitions in around 20 countries, members in more than 160 countries, and a Geneva-based Secretariat hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).In 2006, WSSCC supported, and worked with IFH in preparing the home hygiene training resource “Home Hygiene in Developing Countries – Prevention of Infection in the home and peri-domestic setting”. In 2012, WSSCC supported IFH in the translation of this resource into Bengali. For more information on WSSCC and its role in hygiene promotion please contact Carolien Van der Voorden: (carolien.vandervoorden@wsscc.org)

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How We Are Funded

The core activities of the IFH are supported through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser.

Historically IFH has recieved funding(including restricted grants used to support specific projects) from:

  • Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
  • Sulabh International Social Service organisation
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • GoJo
  • Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc
  • Milton Pharmaceutical Company
  • The European Association for the Soap, Detergent and Chemical Products Industries (AISE)
  • The UK Chemical Products Industry Association (UKCPI)

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How To Contact Us

You can contact us either by using our Contact Form or by post at the following address:

Old Dairy Cottage,
Woodhouse Lane,
Montacute,
Somerset,
TA15 6XL
United Kingdom

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