groundWork (Health Care Without Harm South Africa)


Global Green and Healthy Health Systems side event at World Health Congress

Durban, South Africa, 24 October 2016 – Health care institutions from around the globe will gather on Sunday at the Durban ICC for the start of the 40th World Health Congress, under the International Hospital Federation [1]. The importance of environmentally healthy health care will intersect with this year’s congress theme “Addressing the Challenge of Patient-Centred Care and Safety” at a side event hosted by international health network Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) [2] in partnership with its South African member groundWork [3].

On 31 October, the side event “Global Green and Healthy Health Systems” [4] will bring together hospital leaders from Africa that have voluntarily joined the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network (GGHH) – a project under HCWH – as well as other leading international health care experts to share approaches to low-carbon, sustainable health care ideas and systems.

This year, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Assessment estimated that almost one-fourth (23%) of diseases and deaths globally can be attributed to preventable environmental factors.  Among the environmental factors, air pollution and climate change are major threats to health contributing to cardio-pulmonary and cerebral vascular disease.

In a recent report, The Lancet described climate change as a global health emergency that threatens to reverse 50 years of health gains in the developing world. WHO Director General Margaret Chan called climate change “one of the greatest challenges of our time.” 

Luqman Yesufu, Coordinator of the GGHH Network in Africa and Environmental Health Campaigner at groundWork: “HCWH and its GGHH Network responds to climate change as a major health care challenge by identifying and supporting health sector members around the globe in the replication of models that foster low carbon, sustainable health care solutions. These solutions aim to be financially viable and increasingly resilient to extreme weather events, while enhancing health care delivery and the quality of care to patients.”

As of October 2016, GGHH has 717 members in 40 countries on six continents who represent the interests of over 20 800 hospitals and health centres.

Registration for the side event is free and will begin at 12h30 on 31 October in Room 21AB at the Durban ICC. This will be followed with an opening speech by Dr Thandeka Khanyile CEO of Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, representing the Head of the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Health Department, Dr Sifiso Mtshali and two panel discussion from the GGHH Sustainability Coordinators at participating GGHH member hospitals.

For more information on the side event view the press pack [4]. Alternatively, a detailed invite will be sent to the media on Wednesday, 26 October.


[1] The World Hospital Congress of the International Hospital Federation is a unique global forum that brings together key drivers of national and international policy, management, financial trends and solutions in healthcare management and service delivery. For more information visit
[2] Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is an international coalition that works to transform the health care sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice. For more information visit
[3] groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa, and increasingly Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Coal, Climate and Energy Justice, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is the South African member of Health Care Without Harm and Friends of the Earth International. For more information visit
[4] The Global Green and Healthy Health Systems side event at the World Health Congress press pack, which contains a briefing paper, case studies and the agenda, can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:


Luqman Yesufu
Coordinator, GGHH Network (Africa) and Environmental Health Campaigner, groundWork
Tel (w): +27 (0) 33 342 5662
Tel (m): +27 (0) 62 209 0990

Nombulelo Shange
Media and Communications Manager, groundWork
Tel (w): +27 (0) 33 342 5662
Tel (m): +27 (0) 74 874 2177