IFIC- a brief history
For many years the annual meetings of the Infection Prevention Society of the UK (IPS) and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology ( APIC ) in the US attracted infection control professionals from around the world. These meetings were found to be valuable for making international contacts and ultimately interest developed for formalising such contacts. As a result of networking between infection control professionals from the UK, the US, Canada , Denmark , Sweden and the Netherlands , an international conference entitled The Role of the Infection Control Nurse in the Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Hospital Associated Infections was held in 1978 at the European office of the World Health Organisation in Copenhagen , Denmark.
At the close of the conference, consensus was reached for establishing a multi-disciplinary, international association for the control of hospital-associated infections. This was the major first step toward the establishment of the International Federation of Infection Control. IFIC was officially inaugurated as a multidisciplinary organization in 1987, and celebrated its 25th birthday during the Conference held in Zagreb, Croatia in 2012.
Membership in IFIC is extended to societies of healthcare professionals in infection control and related fields in countries throughout the world. The organisations that join IFIC are then called Member Societies. Currently IFIC has 66 members from 51 countries.
Individuals in countries without infection control societies, or associations that are not formally constituted, may become associate members of IFIC.
Affiliated membership is also open to institutions or organizations IFIC that are involved primarily in training, education and/or research in infection prevention & control, but are not engaged in the day-to-day delivery of IP&C.
IFIC also has Corporate Members: persons, firms or companies which, whilst they have an interest in or concern about Infection Control, are commercial organisations. These patron members may on agreement contribute to IFIC activities such as conferences and publications but are not entitled to vote.
The IFIC board has ten members: Chair, Treasurer, Honorary Secretary, Editor and six Directors. IFIC member societies nominate one of their members to a vacant position on the IFIC board as needed and –depending on the geographical region and whenever possible- financially support that person for their 4 year term of office. The Board meets twice a year in person and by teleconference as necessary.
- The IFIC web site provides information about IFIC goals and activities and is a forum for networking with organizations, agencies and IFIC corporate sponsors. On the website, current IFIC publications are available for reading or downloading along with Information Resources in Infection Control and IFIC educational booklets.
- The IFIC e-Newsletter is published four times per year. The aim is to provide a forum for member societies to share information and activities and to provide observers with articles on infection control practice. It is distributed without charge to member societies as well as to a large number of observers and it may be freely copied and distributed. A Corporate newsletter, designed with our collaborating industry partners in mind, aims to keep them informed about new projects, plans, and Conference schedules well in advance.
- IFIC’s manual on Infection Control: “Basic Concepts” is authored by experts on infection control and is now in its 2nd edition. The intent of the manual is to provide a foundation of scientifically basic infection control principles and requirements. The advantage of this document is that it is not connected to any country’s legal regulations or traditions and therefore it transcends national boundaries. Previous editions have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, French, Lithuanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Thai languages.
The current edition is available in Spanish and Italian, and chapters in French, Arabic and Hungarian are coming on line. The 3rd edition, shortly in preparation, will also contain selected references and be accompanied by sets of teaching slides.
- Information Resources in Infection Control: The aim of this publication is to provide key references, publications and website addresses to infection control practitioners worldwide. The booklet is updated on an annual basis.
- The IFIC Journal, IJIC, ,is fully electronic and can be accessed at http://www.ijic.info. The Journal’s aim is to provide a forum for infection control (IC) professionals to disseminate research and practice information and encourage IC initiatives on an international level. The submission is performed online and authors can keep track of the whole process in the authors’ section of the IJIC website.
The first IFIC conference was held independently of other societies’ in Cambridge, UK in 1997. The second conference was held in George, South Africa in 1999. Since then, most IFIC meetings have been held jointly with member societies, alternating between a European and a non-European venue.
IFIC conferences are international in scope, with lecturers and participants from all over the world. They are characterised by the generous amount of time allotted to discussions and workshops with considerable interaction between the audience and invited experts.
Due to generous donations from member societies, patron members and individuals, IFIC has in recent years been able to sponsor young, scientifically active IC practitioners to come to the IFIC conferences.
A major scholarship for a twinning/mentoring project is now also available, offering opportunities for fruitful exchanges between centres.
Research on economical and effective infection prevention strategies is sparse. With grant support from industry and foundations, IFIC plans to conduct several research projects that will clarify issues related to infection control practices in underserved regions of the world. IFIC is increasing its membership and also increasing the magnitude and scope of its work.