On 17 August 2017, 32 participants from GGHH member institutions in the Gauteng province, South Africa, participated in a regional workshop and training on sustainable health care.

Azeeza Rangunwala, Assistant Director for the green economy project in Gauteng, presented on the GGHH goal of “Leadership”. She emphasized the need for environmental health leadership at all spheres of decision making at the department of health, stating examples of how they have gone about implementing this at the department. They have targeted green procurement practices and have started by implementing a specific guideline for alternative waste management using autoclaves and frictional heating methods of treatment. This will be used as a guide for suppliers of these devices.

On sustainable waste management, Luqman Yesufu, GGHH Campaigner in Africa, went through a wide array of topics with the participants: environmental health and infection control and relevance in health care institutions, bio-digestion, green procurement, recycling, the implementation of the Minamata Treaty and mercury and finally, risk management. He also explained how to write a GGHH case study for these members to showcase the work being done at the institutions.

In an interactive session, participants broke up into small groups for discussion and experience sharing. This allowed them to engage with one another and find solutions to common challenges they face in their health institutions. The groups raised a variety of issues, especially the need for both environmental health and infection control teams to work together as one unit to be successful. In addition, educating staff, patients, and the community on the link between environment and health was identified as key.

Finally, Lordwick Mokgohlwa from the Department of Health Care Waste and Occupational Hygiene Risk Management presented on Environmental Management. He showed participants the need for the environment to be maintained and taken care of at all times. “If we do not take care of our environment, it will not take care of us as. The environment doesn’t need us to survive but we need the environment”, said Mokgohlwa.

“We originally scheduled the training for one day, but given the high level of interest from participants, we decided to add on a second day of meetings at Steve Biko Hospital. It was a fantastic group and event that we look forward to supporting and continuing to grow in the future,” explained Yesufu.

Photos source: groundWork