Edendale Hospital worker to attend international health care waste conference in USA

Pietermaritzburg, 21 October 2002 - Judith Dinky Halimana an administrator at Pietermaritzburg’s Edendale Hospital leaves tomorrow to attend an international conference on health care waste, taking place this week in Chicago. This will be her first trip overseas.

Ms Halimana is the only representative from Africa who has been selected by the international organisation Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) to fly to the USA to attend the three day CleanMed 2002 conference, followed by two days of waste management training, one of which will take place at a Chicago hospital. HCWH is covering the full cost of her trip.

The purpose of the trip is to provide participants with an understanding of the scope of environmental issues at health care institutions, how to assess them and how to develop pollution prevention programmes.

“I am very excited at being given the opportunity to attend the CleanMed 2002 conference in Chicago. I hope to gain as much knowledge regarding health care waste so as to contribute to improved waste management at Edendale Hospital,” said Ms Halimana.

Ms Halimana, with the support of groundWork and the entire Edendale Hospital staff, has been instrumental in significantly improving health care waste management at the Edendale Hospital, while at the same time reducing the hospital’s monthly expenditure on waste disposal. These monthly savings have averaged R35 000. This is a shining light amidst recent press stories about financial shortages and irregularities in our government hospitals.

Over the past 15 months, groundWork has been working with the Edendale Hospital and the Ngwelezane Hospital (Empangeni) to develop model health care waste management programmes, which can be replicated in other government hospitals.

“It is hoped that Ms Halimana will be able to use the information and knowledge obtained over the next week to assist both the Edendale hospital and groundWork in identifying ways of improving health care waste management in South Africa,” said Llewellyn Leonard, the co-ordinator of groundWork’s Health care Waste and Incineration Project.

For more information contact:

Llewellyn Leonard, groundWork’s Health Care Waste Coordinator on 033-342 5662

Dinky Halimana on 033-395 4690/083 7122 503

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Health Care Without Harm, firuzeh@essential.org

Or view the CleanMed 2002 web page at www.cleanmed.org. or the Health Care Without Harm web page at www.no-harm.org