The workshop “Sustainable Health Care Solutions: An Environmental Health Model for Governance, Advocacy, Capacity and Information“ took place on 4 September 2017, as a part of the 13th Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) Conference (4-7 September, in Johannesburg, South Africa).
The event was hosted by Health Care Without Harm and its strategic partner in South Africa, groundWork. There were 38 participants including health care sector leaders, environmental health practitioners, public health researchers, policy makers, academics, and students.
During the event, participants learned about the impacts of the health sector on environmental health and climate change, shared best practices and, tools and resources on climate smart health care and discussed how to engage the health sector in raising awareness about the links between climate change and health.
To this regard, Luqman Yesufu, Global Green and Health Hospitals (GGHH)’s campaigner in Africa, said: “Climate change and resulting environmental degradation is real. The health sector needs to take a more active and participatory role in environmental governance as it seeks to address the issues that undermine public health”.
One of the main issues discussed was how healthcare professionals, engineers, contractors and other suppliers can create systems that address waste management, energy conservation and other sustainability issues. In addition, the group brainstormed how hospitals can deal with the impacts of climate change when they are at their doorstep.
“The audience was amazed by the case examples from GGHH members of climate smart examples leading the way in South Africa to demonstrate to health systems around the world what is possible and practical in settings where resources are limited as well as when more resources are available”, explained Susan Wilburn, GGHH’s Sustainability Director, Health Care Without Harm.
Speakers from 5 GGHH members -Stellenbosch University, Greys Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital, Netcare Limited and Bongani Regional Hospital- presented the work and progress of their institutions to address environmental health issues.
About the PHASA Conference
The Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) advocates for equitable access to the basic conditions necessary to achieve health for all South African as well as equitable access to effective health care. PHASA works with other public health associations and related organizations and advocate on national and international issues that impact on the conditions for a healthy society.
Through their annual conferences, PHASA brings unique and objective perspectives to national and international debates on public health and development issues. The conference also fulfils a networking and capacity building function for our constituency and advocates for a comprehensive approach to disease prevention, health promotion and protection, and inter-sectoral action to address the social determinants of health. The theme of the 13th PHASA Conference was “A Global Charter for the Public’s Health: Implications for Public Health Practice in South Africa”.