Category: Municipal 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

EHPs from Garden Route DM conduct Food Safety Blitz in Knysna

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 abbreviations 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.

Consequently, a joint food safety “blitz” was undertaken by the Garden Route District Municipality: Knysna Municipal Health section on the 13th September 2018 in collaboration with the following stakeholders:
– Knysna S.A.P.S. officials
– Knysna Municipality Law Enforcement officials
– Knysna Municipality Environmental Practitioner

Environmental Health Practitioner issuing a fine to a shop owner who is not complying with Regulation 683 – Governing general hygiene requirements for food premises, the transport of food and related matters.

The safety “blitz” was undertaken at informal (“spaza shops “) situated within the different Greater Knysna areas.
The primary objectives of the joint operation focussed on the following:
– Compliance of premises in terms of the applicable legislation (Regulation 638 – Governing general hygiene
requirements for food premises, the transport of food and related matters)
– Compliance in terms of the Business Act – Act 71 0f 1991 (Knysna Municipality mandate)
– Criminal activities and offences (S.A.P.S. mandate)

Unlawful activity by a shop owner who stored food products in a bedroom.

The operation was facilitated by four Environmental Health Practitioners of the Knysna office and a total of 12 premises were inspected.
A total of 3 fines were issued to non-compliant premises and formal notices will be served on all premises that were visited, to address the non-compliance issues that were identified.
During the debriefing session that was held after completion of the successful operation, various issues and challenges were discussed; these issues will be prioritised during the next operations within the Greater Knysna area.

Garden Route DM participates at the Agricultural Show

An Annual Agricultural Show took place at the George Show grounds last week.

The GRDM Municipal Health Services Team from Hessequa focused on Milk Safety standards at the event.

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) exhibited many of its service delivery offerings at two stalls with the purpose of creating brand-awareness and to educate the public about the role of the District.

The following municipal functions were showcased during the 4-day show:

  • Air Quality
  • District Economic Development
  • Fire & Rescue Services
  • Municipal Health Services
  • Municipal Disaster Management
  • Tourism
  • Waste Management
Environmental Health Practitioners from the GRDM’s Riversdale office are receiving members of the public and share safety standards relating to the production of milk.

 

World Environmental Day Celebrated at Plettenberg Bay Secondary School

On Tuesday, 24 July 2018, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of one of the Eden District Municipal Sub-Offices in Bitou, celebrated World Environmental Day, at Plettenberg Bay Secondary School. The purpose of the visit was to create awareness among learners about the various types of pollution, the risks posed by pollution in communities, hazards of pollution and how pollution can be prevented.

Ms Maxwelline Fatuse, Eden DM Environmental Health Practitioner, did a presentation on water quality.

The following environmental pollution control risks topics were presented: 
•    Waste Management (Recycling and Illegal Dumping);
•    Water Quality; and
•    Food Safety and Hygiene.

Grade 10 and 11 learners attentively listened and enthusiastically participated in the topics which are known to them, as it is integrated in their curriculum CAPS for Life Sciences.

Ms Zoleka Goniwe, EHP of the Plettenberg Bay office, outlined the importance of food safety and hygiene.

The work done by EHPs were also showcased at an exhibition exclusively put together for the learners, especially aimed at the well-being of the environment. These days, the function of Environmental Health is a critical field and can only grow as the world population increases.

Eden DM Waste Management Officer, Mr Johan Gie, presented about recycling and illegal dumping prevention.

 

Food Safety along the Food Chain explained

What is food safety?
Food safety is a scientific discipline, which describes the handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illnesses. The WHO defines ‘Food Safety’ as the assurance that food will not cause harm to the consumer when prepared and/or eaten in accordance with its intended use. ‘Food Hygiene’ is defined as all the measures necessary to ensure the safety, soundness and wholesomeness of food at all stages from its production or manufacturing until it is consumed.

Why is food safety important?
The purpose of food safety is to ensure that FOOD IS SAFE TO EAT in order to protect the consumer.

Contaminated food and water are the biggest sources of food borne illnesses that affect people, particularly in South Africa. This phenomenon is also true throughout the world. The problem does not discriminate between rich or poor countries, but in both cases, contaminated food imposes substantial health burdens, ranging in severity from being mildly sick to fatalities.

Food safety is an increasingly important public health issue and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), governments all over the world are intensifying their efforts to improve food safety. This is largely due to rapid globalisation, overpopulation and the importance of the safety when food gets transported from one country to another. Together with this, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people travelling internationally for, amongst others, sport, tourism and business purposes etc.

Food safety in South Africa safety in South Africa
The services rendered by health authorities in South Africa aims at ensuring that the food consumers are not exposed to food that causes any harm. This is also referred to as “Food Safety Control” and can be defined as a mandatory regulatory activity of enforcement by the relevant health authority. Consumer protection has to be provided and it needs to be ensured that all foods are safe during production, handling, storage, processing, and distribution phases. Food has to be fit for human consumption and conform to safety requirements as prescribed by law and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Legislation exists to ensure that all foodstuffs and food handling facilities comply with health standards that protect consumers from unsafe food or conditions that are unhygienic.

Although South Africa is considered a developing country, the food industry of the country can be considered as a well-developed and sophisticated sector, geared towards safeguarding the needs of consumers through both the formal and informal sectors of the country’s economy. This includes the entire food chain:

A consumer’s role in the food chain
One might assume that the buck stops at the food producer or trader, or a government authority responsible for enforcing regulations, but this is a myth. Neither the government nor the food producer and traders can ensure that a food consumer practices hygiene standards and food safety at home. Or that consumers willfully support businesses who do not possess a “Certificate of Acceptability”. Consumers also have to act responsibly and report instances where foul play is suspected. All food traders must, therefore, at all times, clearly display their “Certificate of Acceptability”, where they trade; otherwise, Government cannot be held liable for any unintended consequences which may result by negligent food traders and producers.

  • Food production on farms
  • Processing at factories
  • Selling at the retail level (Wholesalers, Supermarkets and Spaza shops)
  • Ready to eat meals (hotels, catering businesses, restaurants, fast food outlets, street food vendors, etc.)

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) conduct daily inspections 
According to the myriad of responsibilities of EHPs, Food Control is one of the areas which require the most time and complex responsibilities.
Food Control relates to a mandatory regulatory activity of enforcement to provide consumer protection and to ensure that food is:

  • handled in a hygienic manner during production, storage, processing, distribution and sale;
  • safe, wholesome and fit for human consumption and conforms to safety, nutrition and quality requirements; and
  • honestly and accurately labelled as prescribed by law.

The role of the Environmental Health Practitioner includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Inspection of food premises and  vehicles
  • Compliance monitoring in terms of legislative requirements and provisions and instituting remedial and preventative measures
  • Issuing of certificates of acceptability
  • Examination, sampling and analysis of foodstuffs
  • Examination of food labels
  • Reaction  to  complaints
  • Law enforcement by serving compliance notices or if deemed necessary  by issuing “summonses to appear in Court” notices (Sect 56 of Criminal Procedures Act. 1977)
  • Export control when requested
  • Provision of information
  • Health promotion and training

Legislation around food control and safety

  • The Constitution of South Africa 1996, (Act 107 of 1996)
  • National Health Act 2003, (Act no 61 of 2003) as amended
  • Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants 1972, (Act 54 of 1972)
  • Guidelines for an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) Engaged in the evaluation of food premises within the HACCP principles, Department of Health

Directorate: Food Control

For more information, consult the Environmental Health Practitioner at Eden District Municipality, Community Services Department, Municipal Health Services’ Office at 044 -8031522. Or visit the office at Mission Street, Roads Department, George Industria.

Eden District Municipal Health Office in Mossel Bay donated dog food to the Mossel Bay SPCA

“100 Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018” Celebrations

Officials from the Eden District Municipal Health Office in Mossel Bay donated dog food to the Mossel Bay SPCA and also used the opportunity to play with the dogs at the facility. Executive Deputy Mayor of Eden District Municipality, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, Cllr Erica Meyer, Mr Wayne Odendaal, Ms Marlene Losper, Dr Johann Schoeman, Ms Jenay van Niekerk and Mr Angus Andries, participated in the initiative.

Kennel Manager of the facility, Ms Jolandi Esterhuizen, thanked the team and received the items on behalf of the facility.

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.