MEDIA INVITE - 14 August 2017

Bertha Gxowa Hospital Takes on Waste Challenge

groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa)
Bertha Gxowa Hospital

The Bertha Gxowa Hospital team and GGHH champions consisting of nursing and transport department, waste management, pharmacy and garden services, scores 100% on their National Core Standards Assessment.

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Monday, 14th August 2017 – Bertha Gxowa Hospital is the latest health care facility to join the internationally recognised Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) [1] initiative, which serves to create a global network of hospitals and health systems seeking to improve environmental performance, while sharing best practices and finding solutions to the common challenges they share.

This Wednesday, 16 August, Bertha Gxowa Hospital will launch its recycling campaign that hopes to move to zero waste as a long-term goal. The launch will be held among staff, patients and visitors. The event will start at 9:30 am and the hospital is inviting media to join the celebration.

“The importance of GGHH projects is to ensure that we create a new ethos and goals to help reduce environmental footprint, promote public and environmental health,” explains Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali-Hadebe, CEO of Bertha Gxowa Hospital.”

groundWork’s GGHH campaigner, Luqman Yesufu said; “We welcome Bertha Gxowa Hospital to the GGHH network, and it is another step towards sustainable health care in Gauteng.”

The GGHH network has more than 826 members in 48 countries on six continents, who represent the interests of over 27,800 hospitals and health center, committed to reducing their ecological footprint and promoting environmental health. South Africa has over 40 member hospitals and health care facilities from four provinces – Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Free State.

Bertha Gxowa Hospital has decided to adopt the waste and pharmaceutical goals. Under the pharmaceutical goal, their encourage patients to return unused or expired medicines instead of disposing them incorrectly, which can lead to toxic drugs in our water supply, soil and food chains. This has helped changed people’s perceptions around disposing of their medicine in the sewer and bins.

The waste goal hopes to phase out infectious waste boxes, by replacing them with permanent reusable bins. The zero waste recycling initiative aims to recycle all reusable waste materials generated in the hospital, including; cans, papers and food waste. The medical waste generated in the hospital has dropped on average from 5593,9 kg in 2016 to 3740,08 in 2017. The hospital’s waste management efforts have also saved them R 4106 since October 2016.

Environmental justice organization, groundWork [2] is the focal organization coordinating GGHH membership for the African region.


[1] The Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) initiative is a project of the international environmental health organisation Health Care Without Harm (HCWH)
[2] 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 Friends of the Earth International


Bertha Gxowa Hospital
Dimakatso Nhlapo
Chief Environmental Health Practitioner
Tel (m): +27 73 260 3211
Tel (w): +27 11 089 8649

Nombulelo Shange
Media and Communications Officer
Tel (m): +27 74 874 2177
Tel (w): +27 33 342 5662

Luqman Yesufu
Global Green and Healthy Hospitals
Tel (m): +27 63 746 6980
Tel (w): +27 33 342 5662