The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene is a 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,
- respiratory hygiene,
- laundering clothing and household linens,
- safe disposal of human and other waste.
- It also includes the care of domestic animals.
- As healthcare outside of hospitals increases, increasingly our remit extends to healthcare of family members who are infected or are more vulnerable to 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 separate agencies.
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.
Our target audience includes 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.
What is Home Hygiene?
Home Hygiene refers to the range of activities which the family need to undertake to protect themselves from infectious disease. It includes food and water hygiene, respiratory hygiene, handwashing, safe disposal of human and other waste and other interventions to prevent spread of infection. 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.
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”, hygiene advice sheets and YouTubes.
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. Sign up to receive our news-sheets here.
The activities of the IFH are developed and co-ordinated by the Scientific Advisory Board and the IFH Trustees Board . The Scientific Advisory Board is composed of hygiene experts drawn from Europe, the USA and South Asia.
IFH Activity Review
Early development of IFH
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. 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).
In 2000 IFH organised an international conferences, in London entitled “Preventing infectious intestinal disease in the domestic setting”
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 News & Updates
The IFH sends out regular news sheets and information to our registered website users. Our newsletters give an insight into current hygiene news & issues, new and existing research publications, promotional and educational materials.
Mr John Pickup
Chairperson IFH Trustees, Consultant in Human and Environmental Toxicity, UK
Professor Sally Bloomfield
Chairperson and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of IFH; Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health; Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK (2005-2019).
Professor Lisa Ackerley
Director of Medical and Scientific Engagement, Hygiene, Reckitt, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner; Professorial Fellow & Member of the Board of Trustees, RSPH
Professor Anthony C. Hilton
Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, College of Health & Life Sciences Aston University, UK
Dr Elizabeth Redmond
Senior Research Fellow, Zero2FIVE Food Industry Centre, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, UK
IFH Policy Development
IFH strategies and annual plans are developed and agreed by the trustees together with the IFH Chairperson, IFH Vice Chairperson and IFH ScietificScientific Advisory Board. The execution of IFH strategies is directed by the IFH Chairperson.
Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health; Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. (2005-2019). IFH Scientific Advisory Board Member.
Professor Emerita, College of Natural, Behavioral and Health Sciences. Simmons University, Boston, USA. Consultant in Home and Community Hygiene and Infection Control; IFH Scientific Advisory Board Member.
IFH Scientific Advisory Board
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.
Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention, Chairperson and Member of the IFH Scientific Advisory Board; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health; Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK (2005-2019).
Director emeritus Prof. Dr. med. Dr. Martin Exner, Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Prevention and Outbreak Management / One Health. University Hospital and University of Bonn, Germany, IFH Scientific Advisory Board Member.
Professor KJ Nath, President, Institution of Public Health Engineers, India; Former Director, All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health, Kolkata. IFH Scientific Advisory Board Member.
Professor Emerita, College of Natural, Behavioral and Health Sciences. Simmons University, Boston, USA. Consultant in Home and Community Hygiene and Infection Control; IFH Scientific Advisory Board Member
Director of Medical and Scientific Engagement, Hygiene, Reckitt; Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner; Professorial Fellow & Member of the Board of Trustees, RSPH; IFH Scientific Advisory Board Member.
Professor of Hygiene and Public Health, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele- Milan, Italy and Director of the School of Public Health (Igiene e medicina preventiva) Incoming President, Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) Past-President, Italian Association of Public Health (Società Italiana di Igiene), IFH Scientific Advisory Board Member.
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
IFH Experts Advisory Panel
Hygiene and Public Health
Professor Syed Sattar
Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Dr Dirk Bockmühl
Faculty of Life Sciences, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Dr Solveig Langsrud
Nofima – Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research
Professor Susanne Knøchel
Head of Science, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Former Chairperson and Secretary of the Council for Better Hygiene
Administrative Director of Danish Hygiene Council Lars Münter,; Comms Lead Self-Care Week Europe
Hygiene in Home Healthcare
Dr Jon Otter
Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Head of Infection Prevention and Control, Nottingham City Care Partnership; Member of the Infection Prevention Society
Infection prevention and control manager, University of Nottingham
Hygiene and public health in developing countries
Professor Amit Dinda
Professor, Department of Pathology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences. New Delhi – 110029, INDIA; Visiting Professor, AIIMS Rishikesh; Honorary Professor, Deakin University, Australia
Dr. Jyoti Joshi
Head, South Asia & GARP Asia Coordinator, Adjunct Professor, Amity Institute of Public Health, Amity University, Noida Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Professor Madhumita Dobe
Director-Professor (Public Health) & Dean, Head, Department of Health Promotion & Education, AIIH&PH
Hygiene and Immunity
Professor Graham Rook
Centre for Clinical Microbiology, Department of Infection, University College London, London, UK
Consultant in Human and Environmental Toxicity, UK
Dr Ros Stanwell Smith
Consultant in Public Health, London, UK
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:
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: email@example.com
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 Lecky: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
How We Are Funded
The core activities of the IFH are supported through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Unilever, SCJohnson and Reckitt Benckiser.
Historically IFH has received funding (including restricted grants used to support specific projects) from:
- Procter & Gamble
- International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (AISE)
- The UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI)
- Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
- Sulabh International Social Service organisation
- Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc
- Milton Pharmaceutical Company)