South African Hospitals and Health Systems Join Global Green Health Challenges to Improve Health and Protect the Environment

Just some of the Global Green and Health Hospitals heroes doing amazing work to make their health facilities sustainable

Just some of the Global Green and Health Hospitals heroes doing amazing work to make their health facilities sustainable

19th October 2017 – Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH)- an international network of hospitals, health care facilities, health systems, and health organizations dedicated to reducing their environmental footprint and promoting public and environmental health- announced today the launch of the Green Health Challenges, a new initiative calling on its robust network, to increase their commitment to reduce their environmental footprint.

Founding participants include GGHH members from Asia, Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and Africa.  South African founding members for the Waste and Energy Challenges include Bongani Regional and Grey’s hospital have all made commitment to the green health challenge, as well as, Netcare Limited and Western Cape Government Health.

The Challenges were first announced on October 10 at GGHH’s bi-annual Latin America regional conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil and at the Network’s Asia regional conference in Taiwan.

The virtual global launch will see health systems from around the world adopt environmentally sustainable practices into their work. Under the energy challenge, health care leaders in Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa will commit to reducing their energy consumption, using cleaner alternatives which will invariably reduce energy cost and lower emissions which drive climate change. The waste challenge will see members commit to reduce and safely dispose of medical waste, and therefore, reduce the spread of infections.

The Green Health Challenges are a data-driven initiative, designed to help health care organizations commit to sustainability goals and track the impact of their environmental projects and efforts.
Initially, the Challenges will focus on two of the ten GGHH Sustainability Goals: Waste and Energy, in addition to the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, which already has more than 135 member participants representing the interests of more than 10,000 hospitals and health centers around the world.

“Our priority is to extend the GGHH mandate in the Free State, by involving other health systems such as MHS(Municipal Health Services) which employs EHPs and alignment of some of their initiatives with GGHH through the assistance of groundwork[2], and lastly to continue to support and participate in GGHH Challenges.” Tshepo Mokhadi, Chief Environmental Health Practitioner at Bongani Regional Hospital.

“We designed the Green Health Challenges with a multi-tier structure that enables members to pick and choose goals according to their capabilities and resources.  This design aims to make the Challenges accessible to GGHH members of all sizes and levels of sustainability experience,” said Scott Slotterback, GGHH Policy Director.

“We are becoming aware of the fact that reducing the facility’s carbon footprint is linked directly to correct practice and the ripple effects it has, e.g. segregating waste correctly, can reduce the number of healthcare risk waste landing up at the landfills. We have a deep sense of moral and social responsibility to the very people we, as Healthcare providers, swore an oath to do no harm.  It is within our power to make a difference,” explains Shireen Arends, Quality Assurance Manager at Grey’s Hospital.
groundWork’s GGHH campaigner, Luqman Yesufu, further adds; “More than half of the world’s population is at risk from occupational and environmental health impacts of healthcare waste. Deciding to measure, reduce and practice environmentally sound waste management system is a major step taken by some of our GGHH members in Africa. I see this as an opportunity to not only promote public environmental health, but to also reduce operational cost while generating revenue for the health institutions in the process.”

Through data submission on the Hippocrates Data Center, members can report, track and visualize their progress while contributing to an aggregated global view of the GGHH network’s efforts to reduce their environmental footprint.

As members achieve progress and reach Green Health Challenge milestones, they will receive public recognition through a new international awards program, the Green Health Awards.

The Green Health Challenges are now open for health care facility, hospital, and health system members from around the world to join. Institutions that are not currently members of GGHH are welcome to join the network and participate.

Join us and take on the Green Health Challenges https://www.greenhospitals.net/about-green-health-challenges/

FOOTNOTES

[1] The Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) initiative is a project of the international environmental health organisation Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) http://www.greenhospitals.net/
[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.

CONTACTS

groundWork
Nombulelo Shange
Media and Communications Manager
Tel (m): +27 74 874 2177
Tel (w): +27 33 342 5662
Email: nombulelo@groundwork.org.za

Luqman Yesufu
GGHH Campaign Manager
Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH)
Tel (m): +27 63 746 6980
Tel (w): +27 33 342 5662
Email: luqman@groundwork.org.za