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Global Hygiene Summit to take place in Singapore in 2022
Covid-19 has brought hygiene - and, more specifically, the role it can play in our health, into sharp focus and further reinforced the fact that prevention is better than cure.
However, despite hygiene being the preventive component of the global fight against infectious diseases, it has languished as a minority scientific and political interest for decades.
Established towards the end of 2020 with the mission of enabling and accelerating a portfolio of hygiene science to improve public health through better outcomes and behaviours, the Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute will organise the Global Hygiene Summit in Singapore in May 2022 and move hygiene - and the role it plays in our health, up the agenda. Singapore has been chosen as the venue for the inaugural summit because of its track record in public health and evidence-based policy and management of healthcare, and a trusted healthcare system.
Organised in partnership with Singapore's National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the World Bank, the Global Hygiene Summit 2022 will create a forum for multi-level and multi-disciplinary discussions around hygiene science, behaviour, economics, and real-world experiences which can shape policy and drive better public health outcomes globally. The aim is that it will become the global meeting place for the diverse audiences involved in the science, implementation and policy of hygiene.
"One of the biggest issues in the hygiene space is its lack of definition as a field," argues Simon Sinclair, executive director of RGHI. "There is no taxonomy, no consensus on terminology or how to measure the benefits of behavioural change. How can we expect to convince policymakers that they need to be investing in a space where we struggle to define the impact?
"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 policymakers."
RGHI recognises that there needs to be solid, robust and well-founded scientific evidence that can be utilised to inspire behaviour change and convince policymakers of the benefits, something that is currently lacking. The need for more diverse hygiene research across the globe was echoed in a recent Economist Intelligence Unit report entitled ' A life-course approach to hygiene: understanding burden and behavioural changes' that was sponsored by RGHI.
Professor Yee Sin Leo, (pictured) executive director, National Centre for Infectious Diseases comments:
"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 Reckitt and World Bank 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."
Muhammad Ali Pate, global director for health and Jennifer Sara, global director for water, both feel that the importance of hygienic behaviour for better public health outcomes has never been more apparent in the context of the pandemic. They say that the Global Hygiene Summit in Singapore will shine a light on the often-neglected subject of behaviour change and put it on the same level in terms of public health impact as clean water and sanitation.
More details regarding speakers, partners and content streams will be available in the coming weeks. Those interested in attending the Summit can register their interest at:
1st July 2021