Category: Environmental Health

World Environmental Health Day celebrated

Statistics from the Department of Health showed, that many children and adults are suffering from diseases, such as diarrhoea, which can be easily prevented or cured, but sometimes result in very sad consequences.

To address this problem, the Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Klein Karoo municipal health office developed a drama production aimed at creating awareness among community members, especially school children.

The aim of the drama production was to:

  • promote good food safety practices;
  • educate learners and the community, on how germs and infections are transmitted;
  • improve hygiene behaviour; and
  • prevent the spread of diarrhoeal and other hygiene-, sanitation- and water related diseases in communities.

A local actor and four (4) peer educators were approached to assist with the performance.  The drama piece was also developed in commemoration of World Environmental Health Day, on 26 September 2018, themed – “Food Security and Sustainability”.

Actors and Environmental Health officials with some of the community members from Hoeko (Ladismith) who attended the information session.

On 24 and 25 September 2018, the drama production was performed respectively in Hoeko (Ladismith area) and in Dysselsdorp.  Approximately 216 households were reached through the initiative. Educators and community leaders were impressed by the informative messages that were conveyed. The actors demonstrated the relationship between good hygienic practices and health status towards a positive impact in community health and quality of life.

According to the organisers of the events, the initiative surely increased the self-esteem of community members, promoted health and hygiene awareness practices and empowered the community with knowledge, in order to take responsibility for their own health and life.

Mr Desmond Paulse, Manager Municipal Health: Klein Karoo (left) with the Peer Educators who performed in the drama production.

The drama production forms part of an ongoing health and hygiene education programme performed by the GRDM municipal health section.

World Environmental Health Day Celebrations

A highly successful event was held at the Thembalethu Community Hall, on Wednesday, 26 September 2018, in commemoration of Wold Environmental Health Day (WEHD), initiated by the International Federation of Environmental Health. This year marks the 7th celebration of the event in South Africa, in recognition of the need to improve environmental health to protect human health.

Cllr Khayalethu Lose, the Portfolio Chairperson of Community Services welcomed and thanked stakeholders for their attendance.

The theme for 2018 is “Global Food Safety and Sustainability”, aimed to support the provision of safer food, for people to make use of the precious water and nutrient resources and for communities to increasingly value sustainable food production, distribution and consumption.
After presentations, attendees were encouraged to ask questions and raised concerns.

Approximately 80 people, consisting of informal and formal food and meat traders, small farmers, caterers, crèche cooks and community members, from Thembalethu, were present at the interactive information session. The objectives of the event were to educate, share and discuss the legal requirements in the food industry as well as major threats to food safety, in particularly the incorrect handling of foodstuff; climate change; anti-microbial resistance; antibiotics in meat; food wastage and access to safe water and chemicals.

Mr Tony Dyers of the Veterinarian Service delivered an informative presentation on meat safety, followed by Dr Dyason of the Department of Agriculture, who shared facts about Rabies, the symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention of the disease in animals.
The Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the George Municipal Health Office furthermore enlightened attendees on counterfeit foodstuffs; “best before” dates and the five keys to safer food.
Similar celebrations were conducted in other areas within the Garden Route District, and according to the organisers of the event, the envisaged goals were achieved.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela

Sale of fake foods

Public concern regarding the selling of “fake foods” compelled the National Department of Health to issue an urgent directive to investigate allegations made regarding the sale of food products, especially products not labelled in accordance with the REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE LABELLING AND ADVERTISING OF FOODSTUFFS, R146 OF 01 MARCH 2010.

According to Regulation 146:  

  • No person shall manufacture, import, sell or offer any pre-packed foodstuffs for sale, unless the foodstuff container or the bulk stock, from which it is taken, is labelled in accordance with these regulations.
  • No person shall import, manufacture, sell, distribute or donate foodstuffs, unless a date marking is clearly indicated on the label or container of such foodstuff.
  • The date shall be preceded by appropriate words “best before” and/or “use by” and/or “sell by”, depending on the nature of the product; Provided that bbreviations shall not be permitted, except “BB” for “best before”, but the preceding words shall be written out in full.
  • The date marking may not be removed or altered by any person.

During September 2018, the Garden Route District Municipality’s Municipal Health Section, in conjunction with the South African Police Services (SAPS) conducted successful operations at “Spaza Shops” in the Hessequa Region.

The purpose of these operations was to address the sale of food products which have reached their “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before” dates, as well as products that were not labelled in English and/or one of the other official languages of the Republic of South Africa.

Inspections were conducted at eighty-one (81) “Spaza Shops” in Riversdale, Heidelberg and Albertinia collectively. During the operations, aspects regarding labelling and advertising of foodstuffs were explained to shop owners/managers, and  products which were not labelled in accordance with this Regulation, especially those with no labels, inappropriate language presentation and no “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before” dates, were confiscated and condemned.

When products that have reached their “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before dates were found, shop owners/managers ere given the option to either return the products to the manufacturer or voluntarily surrender it for condemnation.

It is important to understand that date marking, is a best practice in the food industry, helping to protect both food quality and food safety. When the “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before” dates of a food product has been reached, the risk of microbiological deterioration increases, which result in an increased health risk to the public.

In light of these events, the Municipal Health Section of the Garden Route District Municipality has decided to increase its monitoring programmes at all food premises, and to create greater public awareness.

Municipal Health in George celebrated Mandela Day with clean-up operation

“100 Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018” celebrations

Officials from the Eden District Municipal Health office in George celebrated “Mandela Day” by means of a clean-up operation at the Molen River in Thembalethu, George.

This operation was carried out in collaboration with the following stakeholders: Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency, DWS, Cape Nature, George Municipality (Waste Management & Expanded Public Works Programme) and a few community members of Thembalethu. Instead of 67 minutes, 100 minutes were devoted to the initiative as part of the “Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018” celebrations.

Eden DM Municipal Health in Hessequa visited Kruisrivier and Goedgegund Primary schools

“100 Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018” celebrations

The Eden District Municipal Health Office in Hessequa visited the Kruisrivier and Goedgegund Primary schools (rural schools) where the team donated pencil bags, water bottles and school clothes to the learners.

It is always heart-warming to see the smile on the face of a child. However, the team feels it is disappointing that they “can not reach out to communities in this way, on a regular basis”.

 

Municipal Health officials in Bitou visited the New Life Creche in Qolweni

“100 Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018” celebrations

Eden District Municipal Health officials from Bitou celebrated Madiba Day in Plettenberg Bay when they visited the New Life Crèche in Qolweni.

The team consisting of Mr Gawie Vos, Ms Zoleka Goniwe, Ms Nokuphiwa Mbali, Mr Yusuf Isaacs and Ms Busisiwe Jacobs assisted the staff with their daily duties including: hand washing, serving of food and washing of dishes. The visit was concluded on a high note when each toddler received a healthy party pack from the team.

 

Municipal Health Services conducts Health & Hygiene Training at Tapas & Oyster Restaurant in Knysna

It becomes more evident that many bacteria, especially foodborne diseases, come to life as a result of poor hygiene practices in kitchens. On 11 May 2018 Environmental Health Practitioner of the Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) employed at the Knysna office, Ms Mendy Tyhawana, facilitated a Health & Hygiene Training session at the Tapas & Oyster Restaurant in Knysna.

Twelve staff members from the Tapas & Oyster Restaurant in Knysna soon after the Health & Hygiene Training Session. With them in the picture are: Kitchen Manager of the restaurant, Mr Owen October (left) and Eden DM Environmental Health Practitioner, Ms Mendy Tyhawana (2nd, left) .

Twelve kitchen staff members together with the kitchen manager, Mr Owen October, attended the session. Ms Mendy Tyhawana confirmed that the reason why she went to Tapas & Oyster Restaurant for the second time, is due to new employees who were appointed after she conducted the first training session. “As environmental health practitioners, we need to make sure that all staff members employed at food premises are aware of the importance of good hygiene practices, as the health of customers is in the hands of those staff”, Ms Tyhawana emphasised. “Your job as food handlers is important – take pride in what you are doing,” she added.

The following topics were covered, namely: (1) What is food poisoning; (2) How does one get food poisoning; (3) Signs and symptoms of food poisoning and (4) how to prevent it by using five keys to safer food, which are:

1. Keep clean
2. Separate raw from cooked food
3. Cook thoroughly
4. Keep food at a safe temperature
5. Use safe water and raw material

Participants listened attentively to the five keys to safer food and the practical examples made by Ms Mendy Tyhawana.

After the closing of the session, Ms Tyhawana said that even though some of the staff were new, she was surprised to hear that all of them were familiar with the five keys to safer food. “This means that staff members who attended the previous session, remembered the content of the session and also transferred their knowledge to the new staff. This is also a confirmation that the efforts made by environmental health practitioners are not in vain,” Ms Tyhawana highlighted.

More sessions will be conducted by the Eden District Municipality throughout the rest of the year to ensure the health and safety of residents in the Eden district.