The Semmelweis Foundation (Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis Gesellschaft), an open, independent non-profit organization was established and registered in 2012 in Vienna, Austria, by a group of engaged private individuals. It operates across borders across the entire Central Eastern European region in order to increase awareness about hospital hygiene and infection prevention in the expert community but also in the public in close cooperation with the WHO.
The Foundation is named after the famous Hungarian physician Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, who recognized the lack of doctoral hand disinfection as the main reason for child bed fever. He achieved to stop endemic puerperal fever by introducing hand disinfection with chlorinated lime solution into clinical practice. Through his famous study of 1847/48 (published in 1961) he became the forefather of hand disinfection, modern antisepsis and evidence-based medicine.