Inter-sectorial collaboration for Health Equity in South Africa to Improve Environmental Health Practices at Local Clinics in the City of Cape Town.

11 October 2018 - The primary mandate of the health sector is to prevent and cure disease. In the process of pursuing this mandate, health-care services inevitably create healthcare waste that is hazardous to health. The waste produced in the course of healthcare activities carries a higher potential for infection and injury to human, animal and environment than any other type of waste. Wherever waste is generated, safe and reliable methods for its handling are therefore essential.

On the 10th and 11th of October, through the facilitation of Tekano [1] Atlantic Fellows for South Africa, groundWork [2] and the City of Cape Town, a health practitioners training and workshop aimed at improving environmental health practices at Clinics was hosted in the City of Cape Town. This workshop took place at the Isivivana Centre, Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Representatives from the Western Cape, Free-State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, which included; facility managers, environmental health practitioners, assistant directors, quality assurance managers and infection control nurses; groundWork; and Tekano engaged, shared knowledge, and mapped a way forward on how to better deal with environmental health issues at clinic level.

At the top of the agenda of the two-day session was:

The gathering recognised the need for inter-sectorial collaboration in implementing effective health-care waste management programmes and the facilitation of training environmental health and other health practitioners at local clinics.

The training will surely have several benefits to this cadre of health professionals such as; improving waste management practices in the City of Cape Town health facilities, adoption of best available practices, obtaining of five (5) continuing professional development points (CPDs) and the joining membership of the Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) Network [3].

Objectives:
1. To improve healthcare waste management practices in clinics at the City of Cape Town
2. To raise the profile of environmental health practitioners (EHPs) through training and allocation of continuous development points (CPD).
3. To introduce the Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) initiative to the environmental health practitioners and get them to join the network.


Footnotes:
[1] Tekano is an active non-profit Organisation striving for a healthier and more equal South Africa with improved health status across all population.
[2] groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people affected by coal development and on environmental justice and human rights issues.  groundWork's campaigning focuses on Coal, Climate and Energy Justice, Waste and Environmental Health.  groundWork is the South African member of the Earth International. For more information visit www.groundwork.org.za
[3] Global Green and Healthy Hospitals is an international network of hospitals, health care facilities, health systems, and health organizations dedicated to reducing their environmental footprint and promoting public and environmental health.


For further information contact:

Luqman Yesufu
Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) Network Campaign Manager at groundWork
063 746 6980

Lena Stofile
Head Environmental Health Practitioner, City of Cape Town
084 800 4419

Zanele Figlan  
Principal Environmental Health Practitioner, City of Cape Town
063 678 3794