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Hygiene In The Domestic Setting

The IFH The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH):

Partnering the Hygiene Centre in hygiene promotion

The IFH was established as an independent, not-for profit organisation in 1997, in response to concerns about the need for expert international or national bodies which could speak from a scientific or medical standpoint about home and community hygiene.

The Chairman of the IFH Scientific Advisory Board is Professor Sally Bloomfield, a member of the Hygiene Centre. Dr Val Curtis is an IFH expert panel member and Prof. Sandy Cairncross is a member of the IFH Board of trustees. IFH works in collaboration with the Hygiene Centre on a number of projects including research projects, preparation of scientific reviews and the production of home hygiene educational materials. The Hygiene Centre was also a partner in the IFH international conferences on home hygiene which were held in London in 2000, and in India in 2002.

The primary objectives of IFH are:

  • To raise awareness of the importance of the home in the chain of infectious disease (ID) transmission, and promote hygiene as the means to better control such disease in developed and developing countries.
  • To ensure home hygiene is based on sound scientific principles
  • To establish home hygiene as a scientific area in its own right.

The primary target audiences for IFH are:

  • Opinion formers, policy makers, NGOs, IGOs, public health scientists, community health practitioners and “public society” – particularly those who are involved with infectious disease.

IFH believes that, one of the problems to improving hygiene standards is that in all countries the different aspects of hygiene are dealt with by different agencies (food, water, sanitation, care of the sick, childcare etc) - and as a result hygiene promotion tends to be "fragmented".

The unique feature of IFH is that it looks at hygiene holistically from the point of view of the family and community, and the range of problems that they face in reducing the risks of infectious disease.

Since its formation IFH has made a detailed review of the available data, which has been used to advocate for increased emphasis on hygiene and to develop a risk-based or “targeted” approach to home hygiene. Using this concept IFH has produced guideline documents and training resources on home hygiene. These unique documents give detailed guidance on how to put home hygiene into practice. IFH promotes its approach to hygiene through its website and through conferences, publications, exhibition stands and workshops.

IFH is global, covering both developed and developing countries and embracing all socio-economic groups and living conditions. 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 addressing the issues related to the hygiene hypothesis and antimicrobial resistance.

The IFH website “Home Hygiene and Health” ( is a central reference resource on home hygiene which features:

- Scientific reviews on all aspects of home hygiene

- A library of recent publications on home hygiene

- Home Hygiene Guidelines and training resiources

- To access fact/advice sheets on key issues relating to home hygiene, including hygiene advice which can be used to advise the public in situations where there is a risk of spread of infectious diseases.

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