Health Care without Harm’s strategic partner in South Africa, groundwork, held its first Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) community planning meeting in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, from the 20th to 22nd January.  The two day meeting was an opportunity for members to learn more about groundwork, Health Care Without Harm, and GGHH. In addition, members shared brief presentations highlighting their recent achievements and goals for the coming year.

Sustainability coordinators and representatives from the following GGHH members attended the meeting: Khayelitsha Hospital, Victoria Hospital, Mitchells Plain Hospital and Du-Noon Community Health Centre.

Expectations of the Planning Meeting

  1. Understand the working relationship between groundWork and Health Care Without Harm
  2. Share and learn about the experiences of their colleagues implementing sustainability projects
  3. Explore how members could provide support to one another in their various hospitals
  4. Understand how to use the GGHH Connect website to engage and communicate more effectively

Achievements from GGHH members in South Africa in 2014

(The presentations will be posted on GGHH Connect)

Mitchells Plain Hospital – Leadership

Mitchells Plain Hospital initiated a community artwork project using mosaics during the construction phase of the hospital. The mosaics were used both to beautify the building and at the same time build meaningful connections with the community. Through the use of colour and thematic images, the mosaics help patients to find their way in a normally sterile environment. It is also a process of recycling, as the material for the mosaics comes from off-cuts and breakages of tiles.

Mural designs were work-shopped with architects, community members and mosaic designers. School children were approached to contribute to the images that would go on dedicated walls inside the hospital.


Khayelitsha Hospital- Energy savings

In an effort to source energy from clean and renewable sources, the hospital installed 108 solar panels which generate 25kW of energy as well as a wind turbine, that generate 2kW.To date the solar and wind turbine have generated 138198 kWh of electricity and prevented the production of 137 tonnes of carbon emissions. This CO2 emissions savings is equivalent to stopping a car from travelling a distance of 1 053 393 km.


Du-Noon Community Health Centre – Building design

In 2014 Du-Noon Community Health Centre focused on improvements to lighting and building design. They installed big windows to bring in natural sunlight that minimizes the need for electrical lighting and allows patients and visitors to feel the sun and a connection to the outdoors. The building also has open courtyards where patients can wait in a relaxed environment.

Another improvement was the installation of passive motion detection switches that control lights based on the presence of people in a room.  The hospital also installed dimmer switches in room where needed.

Since the surrounding community is diverse, with its citizens speaking a variety of languages, the hospital employed visual aids, such as pictorial descriptive diagrams, to effectively communicate their sustainability initiatives with all visitors.


Victoria Hospital – Leadership through practice change

At the beginning of 2014, the Victoria Hospital conducted an analysis of their electricity and water usage and expenses. With both on the high side, an initiative was set forth to conserve both resources and money The CEO of the facility sent out a note explaining the problem and steps for improvement. Unnecessary use of lights and air-conditioners during the day and when the offices were empty was identified and stopped.  Cleaning staff took on the duty of turning off these items when making their rounds. Secondly, they reduced their autoclave water usage from 250L TO 80L, and began using the discharged water to flush toilets.