Director of the Infection Control Programme at the University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Chairman for Clean Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
Professor Didier Pittet is the Hospital Epidemiologist and Director of the Infection Control Programme & World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Infection Prevention and Control and Antimicrobial Resistance, University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Switzerland. He holds Honorary Professorships at Imperial College (London), Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Health Science (Hong Kong) and the First Medical School of the Fu (Shanghai). Professor Pittet is also a fellow of the Royal Medical Association (Ireland) and Honorary Member of the All-Russian Scientific Societies of Epidemiologists, Microbiologists and Parasitologists and the French Academy of Surgery.
Author and co-author of more than 500 publications in scientific journals and editor of the first textbook “Hand Hygiene – A Handbook for Medical Professionals” (Pittet, Boyce, Allegranzi, edition Wiley-Blackwell, 2017), Professor Pittet is a member of the editorial boards of many prestigious scientific journals, including The Lancet Infectious Diseases. He is also an editorial consultant for The Lancet. The books “Clean Hands Save Lives” (Editions L'Âge d'Homme, 2014), available in 19 languages and “Adapt to Adopt” (Editions Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, 2021) written by French writer Thierry Crouzet, and the documentary film "Clean Hands" (Aftermedia 2016, 8 languages) describe Didier Pittet's medical odyssey dedicated to the promotion of hand hygiene worldwide.
Professor Pittet is the recipient of several national and international honors including a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II for services to the prevention of healthcare-associated infection in the UK (2007), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Lectureship (2008), the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases' Award for Excellence (2009), the American Society for Microbiology (2016), the Robert Koch Award (2017) and the Pasteur Medal (2020).
Since 2005, Professor Pittet has been working closely with the WHO as the lead adviser of the First Global Patient Safety Challenge, whose Clean Care is Safer Care program is active in hospitals in 189 of the 195 UN member states. Professor Pittet conducts numerous research projects, in particular concerning the epidemiology, prevention and control of infections and the development of innovative strategies to improve hand hygiene compliance and the quality of patient care to promote their safety. He is also involved in numerous humanitarian projects. Professor Pittet is also credited with revolutionizing patient care processes in hospitals by replacing hand washing with soap and water with the systematic use of alcohol-based handrubs (ABHR) and spreading this change in practice to healthcare centers around the world. His work has also involved the donation of a patent-free ABHR solution formulation to the WHO to facilitate its global distribution at lower cost, leading to its inclusion in the WHO list of Essential Medicines in 2012.
In June 2020, Professor Pittet was appointed by the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, as president of an independent mission created to assess the management of the COVID-19 crisis and to better address the risks posed by the pandemic and delivered the report of this commission in May 2021. The mission’s primary objective was to assess the relevance, speed and proportionality of the French response in the management of the health, social and economic crises, in particular in comparison to other countries’ responses.