Home Hygiene & Health
The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information

About IFH

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. 116912 ) 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, is needed. Currently many aspects of family hygiene are dealt with by separate 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.

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. IFH does not set out specifically to engage with the public, our main aim is to support those who do.

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. The 2017 IFH “activity review” 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 need to undertake to protect themselves from infectious disease. It includes food and water hygiene, handwashing, respiratory hygiene, care of domestic animals and 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.

You can find more information on 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, twitter feeds 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 everyday life 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 materials, both from IFH and also from other sources, all of which can be downloaded for free. 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 in home and everyday life.

Our website receives around 1,000 users and 2,500 page views monthly and we send out regular news-sheets to our “home hygiene community”. Sign up to receive our news-sheets 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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IFH Activity Review

We are pleased to present our 2017 Activity Review. View the Activity Review for 2017 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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Early development of IFH

   

  • 1997

    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.

  • 1998

    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 acknowledged. 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).

  • 2000

    IFH Organised International Conference

    In 2000 IFH organised an international conference, in London entitled “Preventing infectious intestinal disease in the domestic setting”

  • 2002

    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 Newsletters, Twitter Feed and Updates

The IFH sends out regular news sheets and news alerts to our database of website users. Our newsletters give an insight into current hygiene news & issues, new and existing research publications, promotional and educational materials.

If you would like to receive our newsletters, click here.

Follow IFH on twitter @IFH_homehygiene to get the latest news and research as it happens.

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Press & 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

  • John Pickup
    Chairman IFH Trustees, Consultant in Human and Environmental Toxicity, UK
  • Professor Sally F Bloomfield
    Chairman of IFH and Honorary Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  • Professor Chris Griffith
    Emeritus Professor Cardiff School of Health Sciences , University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) and Independent Hygiene Consultant, UK
  • Dr Martin Jones
    Former Microbiology group leader, Unilever R & D Port Sunlight
  • Professor Lisa Ackerley
    Visiting Professor, University of Salford, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner; Professorial Fellow & Member of the Board of Trustees, RSPH.

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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​​​​​​​

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

Professor Lisa Ackerley

Vice Chairman IFH; Visiting Professor, University of Salford, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner; Professorial Fellow & Member of the Board of Trustees, RSPH.


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.

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 Lisa Ackerley

Vice Chairman IFH; Visiting Professor, University of Salford, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner; Professorial Fellow & Member of the Board of Trustees, RSPH.

Professor Dr Martin Exner

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

Professor Kumar Jyoti Nath

President, Institution of Public Health Engineers, India; President, Society for Human Development & Social Action, Kolkata; Former Director, All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health, Kolkata. 

Professor Elizabeth Scott

Associate Dean and Professor, College of Natural, Behavioral and Health Sciences, Simmons University, Boston, USA

Professor Carlo Signorelli

Ordinario di Igiene e Sanità Pubblica, Università di Parma Italy; Direttore Scuola di Specializzazione in Igiene e medicina Preventiva; Presidente Centro di Formazione e Ricerca su organizzazione, qualità e sostenibilità dei sistemi sanitari.


IFH Scineitifc Adisory Board – Past Members

  • 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 Experts Advisory Panel

Hygiene and Public Health

  • Professor Sandy Cairncross
    Director, Center for Research and Environmental Microbiology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
  • Professor Lisa Ackerley
    Vice Chairman IFH, Visiting Professor, University of Salford, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner
  • Dr Dirk Bockmühl
    Faculty of Life Sciences, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany.
  • Dr Solveig Langsrud
    Nofima Food Research Insitute, Norway
  • Professor Anthony Hilton
    Life & Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham
  • Professor Susanne Knøchel
    Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Chairman of the Danish Hygiene Council
  • Lars Münter 
    Administrative Director of Danish Hygiene Council

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.
  • Fiona Branton
    Head of Infection Prevention and Control, Nottingham City Care Partnership; Member of the Infection Prevention Society.
  • Jude Robinson
    Infection Prevention Lead Nurse and University of Nottingham   

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.
  • 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
  • John Pickup
    Consultant in Human and Environmental Toxicity, UK
  • Dr Ros Stanwell Smith
    Consultant in Public Health, London, 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:

The Danish Hygiene Council (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. 

For more details contact Lars Münter: (raad@bedrehygienje.dk)

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 Charlotte Eley (Charlotte.Eley@phe.gov.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 at home and in everyday life: a learning and training resource. The resource was updated in 2018 and is also downloadable from the IFH and IPS websites.

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)

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 and 2016, in collaboration with IFH, RSPH hosted symposia on the hygiene hypothesis and its implications for hygiene in London. For more information about RSPH and its involvement in hygiene promotion contact Janice Constable: (jconstable@riph.org.uk)

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

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)


How We Are Funded

The core activities of the IFH are currently supported through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Unilever and Deb GroupLtd/S.C.Johnson & Son Ltd

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

  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
  • Sulabh International Social Service organisation
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • GOJO Industries Ltd
  • Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc
  • 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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