The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene is the leading scientific authority on home hygiene. It is a charity 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. Activities range from addressing hygiene issues related to controlling the global threat posed by avian flu, to reducing the burden of diarrhoeal and respiratory infections in developing country situations, to providing support on infection and control issues related to healthcare at home, to addressing the issues related to the hygiene hypothesis and antimicrobial resistance.
The specific aims of the IFH are to:
- Raise awareness of the fundamental role that home hygiene plays in preventing infectious disease.
- Advocate for increased emphasis on hygiene promotion.
- Develop and promote hygiene and hygiene practice based on sound scientific principles.
- 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 main target audience for the IFH is public health scientists, government and non-government agencies, opinion formers, health professionals (particularly infection control practitioners), 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. IFH has produced some Information Brochures which further give further details about IFH. In 2011 IFH produced an “activity review” which gives a more detailed overview of who we are, what we do, and what we have achieved.
Activities & Communications
IFH has produced a 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. The website provides a “one stop shop” which contains a comprehensive range of materials, both from IFH and other sources, for use by our target audiences.
In addition to our website, IFH communicates through conferences, satellite symposia, workshops, exhibition stands, our twice yearly news sheets, e-mail alerts and one-to-one meetings.
IFH has also organised 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 two conferences focused on the topic of infectious intestinal disease in developed and developing countries respectively, 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”.
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.
IFH can be contacted by using the Contact Us form or by post at the following address:
Old Dairy Cottage, Woodhouse Lane, Montacute, Somerset, TA15 6XL, UK
In 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.
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. It was also acknowledged that there was a need to understand better hygiene in the home and to develop hygiene policy for the home setting. The experts then met on a number of occasions to further explore these issues, agree objectives and publish information on hygiene and its importance in the home. In 1998, the group agreed to form a non-profit non-governmental organisation, The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH), with a mission of promoting their aims and objectives.
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 other individuals, or expert panels with expertise in specific areas such as handwashing, hygiene and immunity, MRSA and hygiene issues related to geographical conditions etc. These experts may be called upon 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.
The IFH Scientific Advisory Board comprises:
- 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
- Professor Dr Martin Exner
Direktor, Hygiene-Institut, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, Germany
- Professor Kumar Jyoti Nath
President, Institution of Public Health Engineers, India. Former Director, All India Institute of Hygiene Public Health, Calcutta, India
- Dr Elizabeth Scott
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
- Professor Carlo Signorelli
Full Professor of Hygiene & Public Health, and Director, Post- Graduate School of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Parma
- Carolien van der Voorden
Programme Officer, Networking and Knowledge Management, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
- 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
The IFH also works in partnership with other health and hygiene institutions and associations such as the UK Infection Prevention Society, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the National Resource on Infection Control, the e-bug project, the Danish Council for better Hygiene and the International Federation of Infection Control.
Hygiene and Public Health
- Professor Nagymajtenyi, Head, Department of Public Health, Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical University, Szeged, Hungary
- Professor Syed Sattar, Director, Center for Research and Environmental Microbiology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
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 Steven Holgate, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, RCMB Division, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
- John Pickup, Consultant in Human and Environmental Toxicity, Hygiene Hypothesis, UK
- Dr Ros Stanwell Smith, Consultant in Public Health, London, UK
Antimicrobial resistance (past member)
- Dr Peter Gilbert, Reader in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
- 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
Funding of IFH
The core activities of the IFH are supported through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser. Other organisations that have contributed to the funding of IFH include the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), Proctor & Gamble, GoJo, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc and Milton Pharmaceutical Company. IFH is also supported by restricted grants which are used to support specific projects.