Category: Municipal Health

Garden Route District Municipality launches the “World No Tobacco Day Campaign”

Councillors, management and staff of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in collaboration with other stakeholders, on Friday 31 May 2019, launched a World No Tobacco Day campaign in front of the GRDM head-office in George.

GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services, Mr Clive Africa, Portfolio Councillor for Community Services, Cllr Khayalethu Lose and Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu, displaying educational messages at the start of the launch.

The launch took place in support of this worldwide initiative of which, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), focuses on “tobacco and lung health.” According to the WHO, the world-wide campaign increases awareness on the negative impact that tobacco has on the lung health of people, from cancer to chronic respiratory diseases and the fundamental role lungs play for the health, as well as overall well-being of all people. The campaign also serves as a call-to-action; the advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption; and to engage stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for a tobacco free world.

Environmental Health Practitioners (initiators of the event) from GRDM during the campaign at the Head-Office.

During his keynote address at the launch, Portfolio Councillor for Community Services, Cllr Khayalethu Lose, gave a brief history of the campaign and added that if indeed, 44 000 South Africans die annually from tobacco consumption, this is more reason why this day must be well commemorated, especially because it brings with it knowledge of harmful effects of tobacco use.  In pledging his support on behalf of the GRDM, he highlighted:  “Let us make this World No Tobacco Day more meaningful”.

The demonstration by the GRDM firefighters was short, but all staff and stakeholders were stunned by the idea of how rapidly a fire can start due to smoking inside a vehicle.

As part of the well-being of representatives, stakeholders such as the Cancer Association of South Africa and the Western Cape Department of Health exhibited health-related services in front of the head office between from 10:00 to 12:00, for staff to do health-related screening tests. While the activities were in progress, a burning minibus arrived at the venue, which caught fire due to smoking activities inside the vehicle. This caught the attention of the audience, when the GRDM firefighters had to contain the fire inside the vehicle.  Although this was merely an example of the dangers of fires inside a vehicle, it was indeed a much-needed demonstration to all staff present.

Nearly 100 staff members and stakeholders marched through the town of George to show their support for the World No Tobacco Day Campaign that is commemorated annually on May, the 31st.

Soon after the activities of the launch, GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners (initiators of the event) and stakeholders started with a “silent march” from York Street, through the town of George to display messages to educate the public about the health effects of tobacco consumption. One such message is:  “Quit before your time runs out”.

If all members of the community are willing to stay abreast of these short and powerful educational messages in their daily lives, then, according to Cllr Lose and all councillors, management and staff who attended the launch “together we can live in a tobacco-free world”.

Community members from Thembalethu educated about communicable diseases

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM’s) Community Services Department recently held a communicable disease awareness session at Kuyasa Clinic in Thembalethu, George. Educational talks were delivered by Ms Jessica Erasmus, Mr Gcobani Tshozi and Ms Wandile Magwaza from the Wilderness region – one of the eight (8) areas served by the GRDM. A total of approximately 150 adults, who were present at clinic, including staff members, were educated during the session.

The topics discussed, include:

  1. Viral meningitis
  2. Measles
  3. Hepatitis
  4. Cholera

The district distributed pamphlets to everyone and discussed each topic in length in English and Xhosa. Cholera was especially emphasized because of the recent outbreak in Mozambique. It is important to keep abreast with what is happening in and around South Africa because people migrate all over the continent which can cause the further spread of communicable diseases.

Community members at the Kuyasa Clinic in Thembalethu who were educated about communicable diseases. Ms Jessica Erasmus, Garden Route DM EHP is featured in the middle.

Hand Hygiene

The main focus area of the day was good hand hygiene practises. It stays one of the central points of preventing the spreading of germs. Proper hand-wash steps were explained and demonstrated.

One of the most important personal hygiene habits that the community needs to be reminded of and educated about, is how to properly wash their hands.

During the session, it was explained how germs are transferred from one item to another, merely by touching it. A person who touches his/her food with hands which had been in contact with contaminated areas can lead to a range of illnesses. Proper hand-washing with soap and water is a simple. It is the easiest method used to get rid of disease-causing bacteria on surfaces. Hand-washing is not only important after eating, playing or any other activities, but especially before such activities too.

The district firmly believes that prevention is better than cure and by instilling a culture of good hand hygiene, the health of communities will improve.

Photographs:
001 Community members at Kuyasa Clinic educated about communicable diseases.
002 Community members at the Kuyasa Clinic in Thembalethu who were educated about communicable diseases. Ms Jessica Erasmus, Garden Route DM EHP is featured in the middle.

Executive Mayor of GRDM donates 850 potable water containers to Zoar

The residents of Zoar in Kannaland will now be able to store their potable water in proper containers, after the Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Cllr Memory Booysen, handed over 850 x 20 liter water containers to Kannaland on Friday, 15 March 2019 at the Library Hall in Ladismith.  Assistance to Kannaland by GRDM was supported by the full Council of GRDM.

Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Memory Booysen, addressing the delegation and officials during the handover ceremony.

The potable containers were handed over to the Executive Mayor of Kannaland, Cllr Magdalene Barry, in the presence of the Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Ms Beverly Shafer, officials from GRDM and Kannaland Municipality, as well as farm owners and community members of the area.

The delegation and officials during the discussions prior to the handover ceremony.

Mr Gerhard Otto, Manager of Disaster Management of Garden Route DM, during the event, also sketched the dire situation of the dams in Kannaland and thereafter a farm owner raised concerns on how the situation resulted in job losses and affected food security. Mr Willem Burger from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, delivered a summary of how the Department assisted Kannaland through support programmes and projects rolled out in the area during the past years.

GRDM Manager of Disaster Management, Mr Gerhard Otto, Portfolio Chairperson of Properties and Asset Management at GRDM, Cllr Joslyn Johnson, Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell, Western Cape MEC for Agriculture, Minister Beverly Shafers, Speaker of Kannaland Municipality, Ms Aletta Theron, Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of Kannaland, Cllr Magdalene Barry and GRDM Councillor, Cllr Albertus Rossouw, in front of the truck, with three tanks, that delivers water to the Zoar Community.

During his address at the handover ceremony, Mayor Booysen emphasised and specifically highlighted to all present about negotiations for a district wide developmental project, which the GRDM is currently busy with.  Mayor Booysen said that the project will generate approximately R100 million for the Garden Route district. Although it will mostly affect the coastal areas, he added: “As soon as we receive the accreditation as water service authority, we will then be able to change the focus of the negotiations to address the needs of the Kannaland community, especially the drought and food security, amongst others”.

To the farming representatives and all officials present, Mayor Booysen said:  “We will need your skills and knowledge to assist us in leading the negotiations into a direction required to address these challenges”.

During the event, Minister Bredell, also announced his plans and what his Department has in store for the community of Kannaland. Bredell admitted: “The only solution to address poverty is job creation”. He added:  “With the resealing of the road between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, as well as the building of a new clinic, jobs will be created – these projects amount to R 38 million.” To address the drought in the area, he added: “We plan to drill two boreholes (R3.4 million) and  plan to rehabilitate the waste water treatment plant that will amount to R195 000”. The Zoar waste water treatment works (R745 000) and also the Calitzdorp waste water treatment works (R1.5 million) is also on the priority list. “Through these initiatives, it is important that we prioritise job creation as part of these projects,” Bredell added.

As part of their itinerary, the delegation then visited farms in the area to witness the current situation and affects of drought in the area. Ms Aletta Theron, Speaker of the Kannaland Council, directed the hand-over programme and extended a word of appreciation to the delegation and representatives who attended the ceremony.

Water sample results in the Knysna estuary show improvement

Results of water samples taken on the 18th March 2019 indicate the Knysna estuary is safe for recreational use in all sites except the Ashmead Channel, Queen Street, the Train station, and Bongani.  The Ashmead channel is not safe for use for swimming, bait collection, fishing or wading at present. This extends from the areas adjacent to Loerie Park, Cathy Park and up to the area next to Monk’s Caravan Park. The Thesen island waterway on the Ashmead side is also not safe for use at present. Users of the estuary are encouraged to use compliant sites with the Department of Water Affairs guidelines including the Heads, Bollard Bay, the Point, Salt River, Crabs Creek, the Waterfront, the main channel and Belvidere. SANParks’ deepwater samples indicate areas are compliant and confirm that the deeper waters and main channel are safe for use.

Mc Carthy (Health Officer for the Garden Route District Municipality) explains ‘sampling will be done weekly by the District Municipality and in line with tidal flow. We are expecting a flush in 2-3 days and will definitely continue to sample thereafter.’

SANParks has erected signage at four (4) spots around the Knysna estuary warning recreational users not to fish, collect bait or swim there. Notices have been issued to tourism establishments around the area of concern so that they can warn guests not to use the unsafe area of the estuary. SANParks has also sent out regular ranger patrols to the affected area to warn people about the dangers of using the water.

Investigation into the causes of oil and grease that have entered the Waste water Treatment Works (WWTW), causing bacteria to die off and the WWTW to release high loads of E.coli into the estuary has led the Knysna Municipality and Garden Route District’s Health division to sample and check all pump stations. James McCarthy of the District’s Health division says ‘we physically checked all the pump stations to find the cause. We have also sent notices to establishments closest to the stations found to have high levels of oil and grease to request proof of proper disposal of oil stores.’

Apart from this joint investigation, Knysna Municipality has tackled the problem at the WWTW by introducing an oil-eating enzyme into the system while regularly dosing the WWTW with beneficial bacteria from the Brenton-on-Sea waste water works.

A pre-directive was issued by the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) to the Knysna Municipality subsequent to the spill from the WWTW. The Municipality will be given an opportunity to provide further action plans to rectify the situation.  According to the Knysna Municipality, the good news is that oil and grease counts in the WWTW are a lot lower since the investigation into the matter two weeks ago.’

The BGCMA has also undertaken to do more regular chemical samples including pH levels, ammonia, nitrates, phosphates levels in the water and others. SANParks has also committed to continue with deepwater samples although they’ve come out positive. Park Manager for Knysna, Megan says ‘in addition, we’ve committed to reviving and chairing the Knysna Estuary Pollution Committee to meet on a weekly basis to tackle this and any future incidents so that we protect the Knysna estuary’s unique biodiversity and tourism value.’

 

Boilerplate: SANParks has also taken deepwater samples and results look positive which means animal and plant life in those areas were not affected by the spikes, such would include the Knysna seahorse, the Knysna Gobi and others. Independent researchers declared the Knysna estuary as number 1 in the country in terms of biodiversity significance back in 2005.

Issued by: SANParks

Press Release: Avian Deaths reported along Divisional Road 1614 caused by Avian Botulism

On 13 February 2019, a resident of Rondevlei via a local newspaper reported a number of bird deaths in the Rondevlei area in close proximity to Divisional Road 1614. The resident alluded to the possibility of the herbicide used by the Garden Route District Municipality: Roads and Transport Planning along the road reserve for Divisional Road 1614 being the cause of the aforesaid bird deaths. Lab tests have indicated otherwise.

On 15 February 2019, SANPARKS informed the GRDM that the bird deaths were caused by a disease known as avian botulism.

Avian botulism is a neuromuscular illness of birds caused by a toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Fish-eating birds are poisoned by eating fish that contain the toxin.

Ingestion of maggots from the carcass of an infected animal can continue the spread of avian botulism. Avian botulism is most prevalent during summer months. The decease cannot be transmitted to humans, but as a precautionary measure SANPARK rangers collected the carcasses daily. The decease cannot be transmitted to humans, but as a precautionary measure SANPARK rangers collected the carcasses daily. SANPARKS also indicated that a statement will be released.

Various departments in the GRDM responded promptly to establish the cause of the bird deaths, and to determine whether the GRDM held any liability therein. Although we could establish that the deaths were not caused by herbicides used by the GRDM: Roads and Transport Planning Services, we will endeavour to exercise caution in the selection of the herbicides that are used for road reserve management and the effect that it may have on the receiving environment.

Enteroviral Meningitis

Increase in Enteroviral Meningitis cases in Garden Route district

Public hospitals in the Garden Route have recently reported an increase in Enteroviral Meningitis cases. In South Africa seasonal peaks occur especially in warmer months.

George Hospital has seen a total of 71 patients with suspected enteroviral meningitis since 1 February 2019. Eleven cases have been confirmed by the laboratory. Most of these cases are children under 14 years of age. Another sub-district with an increase in suspected enteroviral meningitis cases is Mossel Bay. Mossel Bay Hospital has seen a total of 19 cases of suspected enteroviral meningitis since 1 February 2019. Knysna Hospital has also seen an increase in cases with a total of 66 suspected cases of enteroviral meningitis. None of the cases were from a single geographical area or source.

This is not the bacterial form (known as meningococcal) of meningitis. No deaths and no cases with serious complications have been reported to date.

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid that is found in the spinal cord and that surrounds the brain. It is usually caused by an infection with a virus or a bacterium (micro-organism).  Enteroviruses are the most common cause of viral meningitis worldwide. It is a common virus that can enter the body through the mouth and travel to the brain and surrounding tissues. It is a mild illness and the majority of ill people will recover within a week (7 – 10 days).

People of all ages are at risk. However, the risk of getting the disease is higher in individuals who are immune compromised and children less than 5 years old. Common symptoms of enteroviral meningitis in children include fever, poor eating, irritability, lethargy (lack of energy) and sleepiness. Adults may present with fever, stiff neck, headache, dislike of bright lights (photophobia), lethargy, sleepiness, and lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Western Cape Government Health has strengthened its efforts within the affected sub-districts with a focus on handwashing and general hygiene. Community Health Workers have also been trained around the reinforcement of hygienic practices.

Good hygiene practices including hand washing after using the toilet, changing nappies or visiting sick people and disinfection of surfaces will reduce the chances of getting an enteroviral infection. Covering your cough or sneeze, and washing hands thereafter is also helpful.

How can you prevent getting infected?

Hand hygiene (regular handwashing with soap and water) and good personal hygiene helps to prevent infection with many viruses including enteroviruses.

Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet, before preparing food, and after sneezing and coughing.

Adults should teach and encourage children to wash their hands properly, and emphasise regular handwashing when children are at school and in contact with many other children.

For media queries contact:

Nadia Ferreira

Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

The risk of using sewage effluent for irrigation purposes

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Although sewage effluent contains high levels of essential plant nutrients and minerals that stimulate growth, the use of effluent however also poses several short-and long-term health threats to the user. Effluent is mostly applied for irrigation during dry seasons with rapid evaporation of water, leaving behind high concentrations of non-biodegradable chemicals, which gradually drain into the groundwater and remain active for long periods of time, rendering it unfit for use.

The practice of re-using treated sewage effluent in times of great water scarcity and drought conditions is recognised internationally. This is mainly evident in the agricultural sector where sewage is diverted for irrigation of crops, orchards or even on recreational sport fields. This practice has now been extended to the irrigation of local household gardens. Local entrepreneurs are exploring this trade of distribution of sewage effluent. With the current water scarcity situation, this trade may be seen as an alternative water source as opposed to fresh water from the municipal distribution system. Section 24 of the CONSTITUTION OF REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, (ACT NO. 108 OF 1996), states that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.

Relative health risk from sewage effluent usage

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are significant health implications associated with the use of sewage for irrigation. These “sewage chemicals” contain domestic, industrial, pharmaceutical and hospital waste discharges. The following chemicals may typically be found: salts, minerals, heavy metals, pesticide residues and synthetic compounds such as disinfection by-products, pharmaceutically active chemicals such as endocrine disrupters and various acids. Some chemicals, for example, bromodichloro-methane, may be associated with miscarriages in women, while heavy metals may accumulate in the leaves or roots of many vegetables, posing risks to human health when consumed.

Furthermore, sewage effluent (especially when inadequately treated) also contains high levels of micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites, of which the majority may pose a serious health threat after exposure/ingestion. Bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, Clostridium, several strains of Eschericia coli, and Vibrio cholera, as well as entero-viruses such as polio-, echo and coxsackie viruses are recognised human pathogens. Parasites or their microscopic ova, such as hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and bilharzia are commonly found. The majority of these micro-organisms have the ability to remain viable and infective for periods up to 30 days and some even as long as several months.

While the reuse of sewage effluent seems to be sensible in times of water scarcity and may even look good as a long term solution, contact exposure to this water source or soil and plants or irrigated playgrounds and lawns may pose a serious health risk to keen gardeners and recreational sport field users. Symptoms may include diarrhoea, fever, generalised infections, infections of skin abrasions, malnutrition from worm infestation, to more serious long term effects from ingestion of aforementioned chemicals and heavy metals. Whilst the serious water shortage in the Garden Route region is recognised, the continued use of sewage effluent as source of irrigation for household gardens and crops is not recommended.

Please contact the Municipal Health Section of the Garden Route District Municipality for further information at 044- 803 1300.

New developments on the Regulation governing general hygiene requirements for food premises and the transport of food

According to World Health Organisation statistics, an estimated 600 million people in the world fall ill because of contaminated food. A shocking 420 000 of these cases result in deaths.

The National Department of Health is responsible for ensuring the safety of food in South Africa. To this end, the Department promulgates relevant legislation to regulate the production, distribution, and preparation of food.

New innovations in food production, as well as the re-emergence of food-borne diseases, require that legislation is amended to address changing conditions and environments.

The National Department of Health promulgated REGULATIONS GOVERNING GENERAL HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD PREMISES, THE TRANSPORT OF FOOD AND RELATED MATTERS, R 638 OF 22 JUNE 2018 under the FOODSTUFFS, COSMETICS AND DISINFECTANTS ACT, 1972 (ACT 54 OF 1972) 

The Municipal Health Department of Garden Route District Municipality has the legislative responsibility to enforce Regulation 638 in its area of jurisdiction. With the additions to Regulation 638, it is deemed necessary to communicate the application of the regulation to the general public.

Take note: Regulation 638 replaced Regulation 962 of 23 November 2012 and Regulation 918 of 30 July 1999. Certificates of Acceptability (COA) issued in terms of repealed regulations, expire on 22 June 2019. This means that all food premises, new and existing, have to be in possession of a new Certificate of Acceptability issued under Regulation 638 by said date under the name of Garden Route District Municipality.

Regulation 638 is applicable to every establishment that handles, prepares, transport and/or sells food to the general public. Accordingly, all such establishments are required to be in possession of valid Certificates of Acceptability (COA).

It is important to note that the Certificate of Acceptability is:

  • issued in terms of Regulation 5 and 6, addressing the Standards and requirements for food premises and the standards and requirements for facilities on food premises, respectively;
  • issued in the name of the person in charge of the premises and not in the name of the establishment. “Person in charge” is a natural person who is responsible for the food premises or the owner of the food premises;
  • Not transferable from one person to another person or from one food premises to another;
  • a person may not effect changes in respect of food premises for which a

Certificate of acceptability has been issued in terms of sub-regulation (5), relating to the provisions of regulations 5 and 6, without informing the local authority in advance and in writing of such changes; and

  • a Certificate of Acceptability must be clearly displayed on the food premises for which it was issued. Should display of a certificate be impractical, it should immediately be made available upon request by the Environmental Health Practitioner or the general public.

How do I apply for a COA?

  • A fully completed, written application form has to be submitted to the relevant local District Municipality, in this case, the Garden Route District Municipality.   An amount of R190.00 is payable as an administration fee for the 2018/2019 financial year.
  • If an Environmental Health Practitioner, after having carried out an inspection, is satisfied that the food

premise concerned, complies with the provisions of Regulations 5 and 6; a local authority in all respects, he or she shall issue a Certificate of Acceptability in the name of the person in charge.

 Does one need specific or specialised training as the person in charge of food premises?

The person in charge of food premises must ensure that –

  • He or she and any other person working on the food premises, are suitably qualified or otherwise adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and hygiene. The training must be conducted by an accredited training provider or by an Environmental Health Practitioner of the relevant District Municipality; in this case Garden Route District Municipality.
  • Assessments are conducted to determine the impact of the training.
  • Training programmes and records are kept and routinely updated and are made available to an Environmental Health Practitioner on request.
  • Evidence of accredited training must be submitted to the relevant District municipality before/on 22nd June 2019.

Please contact the Garden Route District Municipal Health offices in your area, should you need more information with regards to any aspect of the Regulation.

George: 044 8031522

Mossel Bay: 044 693 0006

Hessequa: 028 713 2438

Oudtshoorn: 044 272 2241

Knysna: 044 382 7214

Plettenberg Bay: 044 501 1600

ENDS

GRDM officials excel during 2018 SAIEH

The South African Institute of Environmental Health (SAIEH) in partnership with the Swiss Embassy, South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Department of Agriculture (Veterinary Service) and the City of Cape Town hosted the 21st National Conference in Environmental Health, at the City of Cape Town council chambers from 16-19 November 2018.

The theme of the conference “One Health – An Environmental Health Perspective”, aimed to demonstrate an integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

A proud Executive Manager of the GRDM Community Services with his research team and the Portfolio Councillor. Fltr: Ms Maxwelline Fatuse, Mr Gcobani Tshozi, Ms Jessica Erasmus, Ms Heidi Cronje, Ms Sive Mkuta, Mr Clive Africa (Executive Manager), Ms Wandile Magwaza, Mr Lusizo Kwetshube, Cllr Khayalethu Lose (Portfolio Chairperson), Ms Ivy Mamegwa and Ms Emmy Douglas.

The Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Executive Manager of Community Services, Mr Clive Africa attended the 4 (four) day conference, accompanied by his leading team of professionals within the field of Environmental Health. The GRDM Municipal Health Services (MHS) submitted nominations for the Best Municipality and Best Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) awards. The Municipal Health App Project has been nominated for this Award. The Municipality has been awarded as one out of three municipalities, with the Best Environmental Health Project.

Since the implementation of the Municipal Health App, the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners experience a lot of benefits in conducting their daily inspections.  The App assists EHPs to capture information electronically on site, without writing reports afterwards.  This method assists them to do more inspections and be more productive while they are out in the field and interventions can then be executed immediately. This method also enables EHPs to do more inspections and save more lives.

The GRDM resolved and implemented paperless council meeting agendas a few months ago in their effort to go green to save the planet.

Breakdown of inspections by GRDM

2013 – 2014 financial year – 31 351 inspections

2014 – 2015 financial year – 41 367 inspections

2015 – 2016 financial year – 43 122 inspections

2016 – 2017 financial year – 50 893 inspections

2017 – 2018 financial year – 51 986 inspections

Garden Route DM delegates with the awards received during the gala event.

Mr Francois Koelman, an EHP from the GRDM Oudtshoorn office received a trophy for being one of the Best Environmental Health Practitioners in South Africa. This award is also one out of three nominees at a national level.  Mr Koelman was not present during the award ceremony, but his colleagues received this remarkable award on his behalf. “We are very proud of our colleague and would like to congratulate him on this great achievement – hard work definitely pays off.”

The Saturday and Sunday’s jam-packed programme was attended by various intellectuals in the environmental health sector.  The GRDM research team (which was an initiative of the Executive Manager, Mr Africa), Ms Maxwelline Fatuse, Ms Jessica Erasmus, Ms Sive Mkuta, Ms Ivy Mamegwa and Mr Clive Africa presented scientific papers on the following research topics:

  • Adulterated honey in South Africa;
  • the effects of consuming toxic chemicals used in fake alcohol beverages on human health and the community;
  • counterfeit food; and
  • counterfeit medicine.

The GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen with the EHPs who delivered presentations on day 2 of the conference.

Ms Emmy Douglas who also acted as research supervisor and project leader, did a sterling job in coaching EHPs in delivering a quality research project and research presentations.

On Monday, a field trip was undertaken by delegates to the Goodwood Disaster Centre and the Swiss Housing project in Khayalitsha.

The last item on the program was the compilation and discussion of resolutions that were taken during the conference. One of the resolutions taken was to approach the National Health Laboratories and discuss their service delivery to the public. The possibility of establishing an accredited laboratory in South Africa, as most of the critical scientific testing can only be done overseas at a very costly price was also raised at the conference. Results for these complex tests also take a long time which could negatively influence the health of our communities.

Arabic posters about health and hygiene distributed to Knysna residents

The recent collaborative “Blitz” operations that were undertaken by various stakeholders, to inspect the informal ”spaza shop” sector, prompted Environmental Health Officials (EHPs) of the Knysna Municipal Health Services to assist South African citizens from foreign  countries that are currently conducting business within the greater Knysna, with health and hygiene awareness.

Initially, the language barrier was a huge challenge which exists between foreigners, especially the Moslim communities from Bangladesh, Somalia and Ethiopia. This inspired  EHPs from the Knysna office to design and  compile a  Health and Hygiene Awareness poster  in the most general – spoken  Arabic  dialect. These posters will assist shop owners with the legal requirements that are required within the applicable legislation as prescribed by the Foodstuff, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act, Act 54 of 1972.

Mr James McCarty busy to train and educate the members of the Moslim business sector.

The following focus areas were included on the posters:

  • Procuring foodstuff from certified retailers.
  • Selling of compromised foodstuff.
  • Temperature control labelling.
  • Expired foodstuff.

This project is aimed towards the 2018 World Environmental Health Day theme of, “Global Food Safety and Sustainability” and will be rolled out to the other local authorities within the Garden Route District.

On Friday, 16 November 2018 during a ceremony that was held in Hornlee at the Knysna Musallah Mosquee, the posters were handed over to the designated representatives of the Moslim business sector community of Knysna by the local Environmental Health Practitioners, Mr James McCarthy and Mr Linden Herwells.

During the ceremony, the local Muslim business sector and the Imam of the Knysna Musallah expressed their gratitude towards this gesture.  They also committed themselves to provide safe food to the community of Knysna.