On 22-24 August, GGHH members in Madagascar participating in the Global Environment Facility funded project: “Reducing UPOPs and Mercury Releases from the Health Sector in Africa”, attended a GGHH workshop organized by groundWork, HCWH’s partner in South Africa, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Madagascar.

The event was also attended by government officials from the Ministry of Health in Madagascar and provided an opportunity for the 6 members to learn more about their commitment to sustainable healthcare and tools and resources available to them. Furthermore, the workshop provided them with a platform to learn from each other and, strengthen their relationships with one another.

The workshop and training covered the following topics:

  • An overview of GGHH
  • Tools and resources available for members
  • How to use GGHH Connect
  • Bio-digestion in Healthcare facilities
  • How to write a Case Study
  • Mercury Pillage Control

“Members were keen to utilize the tools and resources available to them on the GGHH website as well as on the internet platform GGHH Connect to increase their knowledge and assist them to adopt best available practices without compromising patient safety and care.  We  held a meeting with GGHH focal points for each hospital, showing them how to report back activities and progress using case studies and articles”, reported Luqman Yesufu, GGHH Campaigner in Africa. He added: “Overall the workshop was very successful and I am excited to work with the hospitals in Madagascar, assisting them to reduce their environmental footprint and promote environmental health”.

During the first day of the workshop, the participants visited all 6 health institutions to see how each one handles their health care waste. The institutions are: University Hospital CHU-HJRB BefelatananaUniversity Hospital CHU- HJRA AmpefilohaUniversity Hospital CHU- HMET- TsaralalànaCSB Sambaina Manjakandriana, CSB Manjakandriana and District Hospital CHRD – Manjakandriana.

Health Care Waste

Of particular interest to GGHH members at the workshop was the issue of sustainable management of organic waste from hospital kitchens. This often constitutes large portion of the domestic waste generated. Therefore, there was a keen interest in bio-digestion – a form of decomposition of organic waste in the absence of oxygen.

“Health care waste is damaging the environment in developing countries and can damage have negative impacts on human health. Improving health care waste management protects both the patients and the care providers within health care facilities”, said Dr Manitra Rakotoarivony, Director of Health Promotion- Ministry of Health.

“Reducing UPOPs and Mercury Releases from the Health Sector in Africa” project

The UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub, in partnership with Health Care Without Harm, and the World Health Organization are collaboratively implementing the “Reducing unintentionally persistent organic pollutants (UPOPs) and Mercury Releases from the Health Sector in Africa”  project. It aims to implement best environmental practices and introduce non-incineration healthcare waste treatment technologies and mercury-free medical devices in four Sub-Saharan African countries -Ghana, Madagascar, Tanzania and Zambia- to reduce harmful releases from the health sector.

The hospitals and health care facilities that are GGHH Members in Madagascar are: University Hospital CHU-HJRB Befelatanana, University Hospital CHU- HJRA Ampefiloha, University Hospital CHU- HMET- Tsaralalàna, District Hospital CHRD – Manjakandriana, CSB Manjakandriana and CSB Sambaina Manjakandriana.

“GGHH is being introduced in Madagascar: joining this global network is a privilege for the MOH and the six model health care facilities. The UPOPs project will support this GGHH initiative in Madagascar but even the project will end, Madagascar will remain member of GGHH”, assured Mr Tata Venance, Head of Health and Environment division, Ministry of Health.