The world’s first Global Hygiene Summit aims to bring clarity for improved public health

Posted: 11 August 2022 | | No comments yet

Health and hygiene are global issues that require multinational co-operation, which Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute plans to deliver at its inaugural event.

handwashing for global hygiene summit

Ambitions to bring clarity to the surprisingly ill-defined subject of hygiene will be pursued at The Global Hygiene Summit 2023. Organised by the Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute (RGHI) in partnership with the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NICD) in Singapore and the World Bank, the event will take place in Singapore on 15th and 16th February 2023.

The RGHI, a not-for-profit foundation that was established in 2020, is focused on plugging significant gaps in the health research space and improving access to information that will bridge epidemiology, public health and behaviour change.

The Global Hygiene Summit will align with the institute’s aims by informing the global health agenda and stimulating discussion that could lead to the adoption of improved sustainable hygienic practises globally.

Providing a platform for multi-level and multi-disciplinary discussions around hygiene science, behaviour, economics and real-world experiences, the event will bring together scientists, politicians, the private sector and civil society to generate impact through the intersection between health and hygiene.

By articulating the shape, scope and importance of the hygiene field, motivating multi-level and multi-disciplinary working by bridging epidemiology, behaviour and policy, the Global Hygiene Summit

By establishing the need and basis for a holistic, co-ordinated approach, the Global Hygiene Summit will create clarity around hygiene and the positive impact that could be gained in global health and societal outcomes. It aims to achieve consensus on how to effectively measure and create behavioural change and economic impact, and how to present this to best engage policymakers.

Hygiene is ill-defined

Commenting on the fundamental importance of their subject matter, Professor Yee Sin Leo, Executive Director at NCID, reflected: “Hygiene generally refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. Despite its intimate link to health, hygiene is ill-defined and often intertwined with socioeconomic status, and cultural belief and practices. Hygiene is a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable public health and with our dual mission of clinical and public health, NCID is pleased to partner for this inaugural summit in Singapore. Leveraging on prominent stakeholders, this summit will elevate hygiene to the highest global agenda in promoting and sustaining health.”

globe in hands

RGHI is already funding a multitude of projects, with the first body of completed RGHI-funded research recently having been published. The studies produced by scientists at the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health and the Yale School of Public Health focused on the connection between long-term drought and diarrhoea among children under five in low- and middle-income countries.

“This kind of research is exactly why RGHI was established,” explained Dr Simon Sinclair, RGHI Executive Director “We need concrete data that points to a course of action that governments can take to better safeguard public health.”

Dr Sinclair continued: “The Global Hygiene Summit will create a positive and stimulating environment that aims to persuade the various hygiene stakeholders that working together will, ultimately, create a stronger voice for change. By articulating the shape and importance of the hygiene field and the value of rigorous science, and by creating positive changes in hygiene behaviours, the Global Hygiene Summit will convene a community of practice around hygiene that can effectively influence policy makers.”

The event’s content organisers comprise individuals from diverse backgrounds and specialties bringing significant experience to the development and planning of the Global Hygiene Summit. Themes include Practice, Policy and Science with plenary sessions led by leading commentators and influencers in the field in parallel with panel discussions from speakers in each subject area.

Content Committee Chair, Dr Albert Ko, Professor and Chair of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health and Chair of the Global Hygiene Summit Content Committee said: We haven’t tapped the full potential of hygiene, whether water, sanitation, respiratory or dental, to improve health and well-being. The Global Hygiene Summit is a key step in convening stakeholders and maximizing these benefits on the global scale”