Category: <span>Municipal Health</span>

17 December 2022 Media Release: Food safety during load shedding

Media Release: Food safety during load shedding

For Immediate Release
17 December 2022

Load shedding occurs often in South Africa. Other countries in the northern parts of Africa and the Middle East, also experience power outages on an average of 23.5 times a month which lasts on average 9.4 hours at a time. South-East Asia is hit with an average of 17 power outages a month, lasting over an hour each time.

These outages have a direct impact on food safety. Three (3) factors are at play here – the length of the outage, its frequency of it and where food is stored.

One key fact to remember is: As long as it is cold, food should be safe.

Food in a refrigerator may be safe as long as:

  • Power outages do not last longer than four hours
  • the fridge door is closed
  • the temperature of the refrigerator was at 4 °C when load shedding started.

Food safety issues including spoiling are especially likely to occur with perishable goods such as fresh meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, and leftover food (depending on how long they were stored before load shedding started). The recommended temperature for the fridge to operate at, for food to remain safe to consume, is 4°C. It is therefore a better option to discard perishable food stored in a fridge that operates at a temperature higher than 4°C, especially when load shedding took place for two (2) or more hours.

Different bacteria grow at various temperatures. For every 1°C increase above that minimum growth temperature, the bacteria growth rate will double (depending on the type, living environment and access to nutrients).  It is therefore essential to keep the door closed to ensure that the refrigerator stays as cold as possible during a power outage

If a freezer door is kept closed, frozen food will stay frozen for up to 48 hours. Perishable food must be cooked as soon as possible if they begin to defrost. Refreezing perishable food is dangerous.

Given the price of food, one is hesitant to discard it, but weighed against the risks of consuming unsafe food – it is best to discard it. Some perishables might not necessarily smell or taste much different but may be filled with bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.

If one knows the load-shedding schedule, one can prepare for it as follows:

  • Ensure that the temperature in the refrigerator is 4 °C or as near to it as possible.
  • Frozen leftovers, milk, fresh meat and poultry, fish, and other goods should be moved from the fridge to the freezer that you might not need right away.
  • Buy fresh food in smaller quantities, prepare it fast, and enjoy it instead of buying it in bulk and storing it in the fridge.
  • Take special note of purchasing long-lasting items, such as unopened canned foods and sterile or ultra-heat heated temperature drinks. These have a lengthy shelf-life outside of the fridge, however, once they’re opened, they too need to be chilled.
  • Another method used to keep perishable goods as cold as possible for as long as possible is to place ice packs around the items in the fridge.

Voedselveiligheid tydens beurtkrag

Beurtkrag kom dikwels in Suid-Afrika voor. Die lengte en frekwensie van beurtkrag kan ‘n impak hê op die veiligheid van voedsel wat in ‘n yskas gestoor is. Belangrike riglyne en inligting word verskaf:

Solank dit koud is, sal voedsel veilig wees.

  1. Voedsel in ‘n yskas behoort veilig te wees solank daar nie meer as vier-uur se kragonderbrekings is nie.
  2. Die yskasdeur geslote bly.
  3. Die temperatuur van die yskas 4 °C was aan die begin van beurtkrag.

Voedselveiligheidskwessies, insluitend bederf, sal veral met bederfbare goedere voorkom. Voorbeelde is:

  • Vars vleis
  • Vars pluimvee (witvleis)
  • Vars vis
  • Melk
  • Sagte kase
  • Moontlik selfs oorskiet, afhangend van hoe lank dit in die yskas was voor beurtkrag.

Die aanbevole temperatuur vir yskaste is 4 °C, hoewel ons in Suid-Afrika weet dat die meeste verbruikersyskaste teen hoeër temperature werk. Dit is dan die beste om voedsel in die bogenoemde lys weg te gooi as die onderbreking langer as twee-uur is EN waar die yskastemperatuur hoeër as 4 °C is.

Wenk: Plaas ‘n termometer in die yskas, dit is die enigste manier om yskas temperature te monitor.

Verskeie soorte fungi en bakterieë begin groei by verskillende minimum temperature, maar tydens elke 1°C toename bo die minimum groei temperatuur, groei bakterieë in voedsel (verdubbel) vinniger. Dit is dus noodsaaklik om yskasdeure toe te hou om te verseker dat die temperatuur so laag as moontlik bly tydens beurtkrag.

As u vrieskasdeur toe gehou word, sal bevrore kos vir ongeveer 48-uur gevries bly. Bederfbare kos moet so gou as moontlik gaargemaak word as dit om enige rede begin ontdooi, aangesien dit NIE hervries MOET word nie.

Gegewe die prys van kos, is ‘n mens huiwerig om dit uit te gooi, tog kan u nie ongesonde kos proe of ruik nie. Onveilige kos ruik en proe soms nogsteeds redelik, maar wanneer ‘n maaltyd vreemd ruik, dui dit daarop dat voedsel bederf het

Indien u die beurtkragskedule ken, kan u soos volg daarvoor voorberei:

  • Maak seker dat die temperatuur in die yskas 4 °C is of so naby as moontlik daaraan.
  • Bevrore/gevriesde oorskietkos, melk, vars vleis en pluimvee (witvleis), vis en ander kossoorte kan van die yskas na die vrieskas geskuif word.
  • Koop vars kos in kleiner hoeveelhede, berei dit vinnig voor en geniet dit in plaas daarvan om dit in grootmaat te koop en dit vir ‘n lang tyd in die yskas te stoor. Stoor voedsel in ‘n vrieskas i.p.v. ‘n yskas.
  • Die raklewe van blikkieskos en steriele of UHT-drankies is langer, maar sodra enige van dié items oopgemaak word moet dit verkoel word.
  • Om bederfbare items so lank moontlik, so koud moontlik te hou, kan u ook bevrore/gevriesde yspakkies rondom dit in die yskas plaas.

Ukhuseleko lokutya ngexesha lokucinyawa kombane

Ucimicimi wombane(loadsheding) wenzeka rhoqo eMzantsi Afrika. Amanye amazwe akumantla eAfrika nakuMbindi Mpuma, nawo afumana ukucinywa kombane ngomyinge wamaxesha angama-23.5 ngenyanga nto leyo ethatha umyinge weeyure eziyi-9.4 ngexesha. UMzantsi-mpuma we-Asia ubethwe ngomndilili wokucinywa kombane ka-17 ngenyanga, okuhlala ngaphezulu kweyure ngexesha ngalinye.

Oku kucima kunempembelelo ngqo kukhuseleko lokutya. Zintathu (3) izinto ezidlalwayo apha – ubude bokucima, ukuphindaphindeka kwayo nalapho kugcinwa khona ukutya.

Esinye isibakala esibalulekileyo esifanele sikhunjulwe kukuba: Logama nje kusabanda, ukutya kufanele kukhuseleke.

Ukutya okukwifriji kungakhuseleka okoko nje:

  • Ukucima kombane akuhlali ngaphezu kweeyure ezine
  • umnyango wefriji uvaliwe
  • iqondo lobushushu lesikhenkcisi lalikwi-4 °C xa kwakuqalisa ukucima.

Imiba yokhuseleko lokutya kubandakanywa ukonakaliswa kunokwenzeka ukuba yenzeke ngeempahla ezitshabalalayo ezifana nenyama entsha, inkukhu, intlanzi, i-cheeses ethambileyo, ubisi, kunye nokutya okushiyekileyo (kuxhomekeke ekubeni zigcinwe ixesha elingakanani ngaphambi kokuba kuqale ukuchithwa komthwalo). Ubushushu obucetyiswayo ukuba ifriji isebenze kuyo, ukuze ukutya kuhlale kukhuselekile ukusetyenziswa, yi-4°C. Ngoko ke lukhetho olungcono ukulahla ukutya okonakalayo okugcinwe kwisikhenkcisi esisebenza kwiqondo lobushushu elingaphezulu kwe-4°C, ngakumbi xa kucinywa umthwalo kangangeeyure ezimbini (2) okanye ngaphezulu.

iibhaktheriya ezahlukeneyo zikhula kumaqondo obushushu ahlukeneyo. kuzo zonke i-1°C enyuka ngaphezu kweqondo lokushisa elincinci lokukhula, izinga lokukhula kwebhaktheriya liyaphindaphinda (kuxhomekeke kuhlobo, indawo yokuhlala kunye nokufikelela kwizondlo). Ngoko ke kubalulekile ukugcina ucango luvaliwe ukuqinisekisa ukuba ifriji ihlala ibanda kangangoko kunokwenzeka ngexesha lokumka kombane.

Ukuba ucango lwesikhenkcezisi luhlala luvaliwe, ukutya okunomkhenkce kuya kuhlala kungumkhenkce ukuya kutsho kwiiyure ezingama-48. Ukutya okonakalayo kufuneka kuphekwe ngokukhawuleza ukuba kuqalise ukunyibilika. Ukukhenkcisa kwakhona ukutya okonakalayo kuyingozi.

Ngokujonga amaxabiso okutya, umntu uyathandabuza ukukulahla, kodwa ulinganisa umngcipheko wokutya ukutya okungakhuselekanga – kungcono ukulahla. Ezinye izinto ezibolayo zisenokunganuki okanye zingcamle ngokwahlukileyo kodwa zinokuzaliswa ziibhaktheriya ezibangela izifo ezibangelwa kukutya.

Ukuba umntu uyayazi ishedyuli yokucinywa kombane, unokuzilungiselela ngolu hlobo lulandelayo:

  • Qinisekisa ukuba iqondo lobushushu kwisikhenkcisi liyi-4 °C okanye likufutshane kuyo kangangoko.
  • Intsalela ekhenkcezisiweyo, ubisi, inyama entsha kunye nenkukhu, intlanzi, kunye nezinye iimpahla kufuneka zisuswe efrijini zisiwe kwisikhenkcisi osenokungayifuni ngoko nangoko.
  • Thenga ukutya okutsha ngemilinganiselo emincinci, kulungiselele ngokukhawuleza, kwaye ukonwabele kunokuba ukuthenge ngobuninzi uze ukugcine efrijini.
  • Qaphela ngokukhethekileyo ukuthenga izinto ezihlala ixesha elide, ezifana nokutya okungavulwanga okunkonkxiweyo kunye neziselo ezinobushushu obungenazintsholongwane okanye obushushu kakhulu. Ezi zinobomi obude beshelufa ngaphandle kwefriji, nangona kunjalo, nje ukuba zivulwe, nazo zifuna ukugodoliswa.
  • Enye indlela esetyenziswayo ukugcina iimpahla ezitshabalalayo zibanda kangangoko kunokwenzeka kukubeka iipakethe zomkhenkce ujikeleze izinto ezisefrijini.

ENDS

16 December 2022 Media Release: No Pets Allowed – The Rules for Food Premises

Media Release: No Pets Allowed – The Rules for Food Premises

For Immediate Release
16 December 2022

The food-trading sector is responsible for ensuring that food safety management procedures are followed at all times. The Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) of the Garden Route District Municipality are responsible for enforcing these procedures at food handling premises within each local town.

Food handling premises refer to any location where food is manufactured, processed, produced, packed, prepared, kept, offered, transported, stored, or displayed for sale or for serving to the public in any serving area. The current regulation governing general hygiene requirements for these premises, as well as the transport of food and related matters, is Regulation 638 of June 22, 2018. This regulation was promulgated under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act of 1972 (Act 54 of 1972).

According to Regulation 638, article 10, the person in charge of food premises must ensure that: “An animal, subject to the provisions of any law, is not kept or permitted in a room or area where food is handled, except that – (a) a guide or service dog accompanying a person with a disability may be permitted in the sales or serving area of the food premises.”

This means that no animals (including domestic pets) are allowed at food premises or in any area where food is being served to the public, except in the case of a guide or service dog accompanying a person with a disability. It is the responsibility of all food premises owners and managers to familiarize themselves with the relevant legislation and requirements of the Act to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Offences: Any person who violates these regulations or allows such a violation to occur will be considered guilty of an offence and subject to the following penalties as provided for under Section 18 of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act of 1972:

  1. On first conviction: R400.00
  2. On second conviction: R800.00
  3. On the third conviction: R2 000.00

Feature image: Shutterstock.

ENDS

22 November 2022 Media Release: EHPs working around the clock to address the Scabies outbreak

Media Release: EHPs working around the clock to address the Scabies outbreak

For immediate release
22 November 2022

Scabies is a skin infection that is caused by a very tiny mite not visible to the naked eye. It can live on a person’s skin for up to two (2) months. Scabies is not a notifiable medical condition, but it must be reported to the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) and Western Cape Health Department, amongst others, to  prevent the disease from spreading.

One of the key performance areas of Municipal Health Services is the surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases. In this regard, the Environmental Health Practitioner EHP has a significant role to play in bringing the Scabies infestation under control and preventing the further spread of the disease. Health education campaigns were recently rolled out in Oudtshoorn and George were cases of scabies were reported.

Oudtshoorn

On Monday, 7 November 2022, educators at Saturnus Primary School in Toekomsrus, Oudtshoorn, found that 25 learners complained about symptoms of itching and rashes on their skin. Nurses from the clinic were contacted to assess the learners’ symptoms and skin conditions. The team concluded that the skin condition was caused by Scabies. The school also informed the school circuit manager of the Department of Basic Education about the situation.

On Wednesday, November 9, 2022, the number of students affected at the school increased to 201. By Friday, 11 November 2022, the outbreak of Scabies had spread to 3 more schools. By November 14, 2022, seven (7) schools in Oudtshoorn, three (3) in Dysselsdorp and one (1) in De Rust were affected. One school in the rural area also sent five (5) learners to the Oudtshoorn clinic. By the end of 14 November 2022 a total of 263 children and one adult were treated for Scabies at clinics in Oudtshoorn and Dysselsdorp respectively – the total of learners that contracted Scabies is currently still rising.

The school health nurse, local clinic operational manager and an EHP provided health education to learners, educators and parents of the learners from affected schools. The following topics were covered: the definition and identification of Scabies, symptoms, treatment, preventative measures, correct hand washing, hand hygiene and isolation of affected learners until treatment is completed. The clinics had to re-fill their stock, as children were sent to clinics where they received medication and cream to apply at night. Learners returned to school after five days. A database is used to monitor children returning to school.

The GRDM Municipal Health Services will continue with their health education about Scabies through the municipality’s various platforms and by visiting schools. They will create awareness about the disease and the precautions that must be taken to prevent further spread.

George

On the 15th of November 2022, EHPs were notified of confirmed Scabies cases in the area. The EHPs from the Wilderness area then targeted schools and clinics to conduct a health awareness campaign to educate communities and learners about disease. Furthermore, disinfectants and pamphlets were distributed to the public during the campaign.

The campaign further continued at the Kuyasa Clinic located in Thembalethu (Zone 9) where approximately 105 patients participated in the health education session. At Thembalethu High School, the principal together with the staff members, were given health education, pamphlets and disinfectants for distribution to the learners. The campaign concluded at Mzoxolo Primary School located in Lawaaikamp (George).

On 16 November 2022, the team of EHPs received another alert from at Mzoxolo Primary school in Lawaaikamp where parents took their children out of school due to the concern that they might contract Scabies. On their arrival at the school, the EHPs managed to calm the parents down and provided health education to them.

More awareness campaigns will be conducted in the coming days at Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilities, nursing homes and to the Greater Oudtshoorn community, with the aim to curb the spread of Scabies in the area.

Report cases of scabies to the following GRDM Municipal Health Offices at:

Head-Office
Johan Compion – Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services
E-mail: info@gardenroute.gov.za
Tel: 044 803 1300

Klein Karoo and Kannaland Region
Desmond Paulse – Chief: Municipal Health (Klein Karoo)
Tel: 044 272 2241 / Cell: 083 678 6530
Address: 94 St John Street, Oudtshoorn

Mossel Bay
Sam Bendle – Chief: Municipal Health (Mossel Bay),
Tel:  044 693 0006 /Cell: 083 630 6108
Address C/O Sampson & Marling Street, Ext 23, Mossel Bay.

George Outeniqua
Emmy Douglas – Chief: Municipal Health (Outeniqua)
Tel: 044 803 1501 / Cell: 078 457 2824
Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George, 6530

George Wilderness
Jessica Erasmus – Acting Chief: Wilderness (George)
Tel: 044 803 1501 / Cell: 081 346 3118
Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George

Knysna Region
James McCarthy – Chief: Knysna
Tel: 044 382 7214 / Cell: 082 805 9417
Address: 26A Queen Street, Knysna

Bitou Region
Gawie Vos – Chief: Lakes (Bitou)
Tel: 044 501 1600 / Cell: 083 557 1522
Address: 7 Gibb Street, Plettenberg Bay

Hessequa Region
Haemish Herwels – Chief: Hessequa
Tel: 028 713 2438 / Cell: 083 678 6545
Address: 23 Michell Street, Riversdale, 6670

ENDS

27 October 2022 Media Release: Do you meet the standards for food premises?

Media Release: Do you meet the standards for food premises?

For immediate release
27 October 2022

In order to ensure safety and wholesomeness, food that comes from a food establishment must always be clean and hygienic. Food premises can be kept hygienic by adhering to regulations.

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) are required by law to monitor all food-processing establishments. Regular monitoring of all food establishments is done on a monthly basis in accordance with Regulations 328 of 2007, POWERS AND DUTIES OF INSPECTORS AND ANALYSTS CONDUCTING INSPECTIONS AND ANALYSES ON FOODSTUFFS AND AT FOOD PREMISES.

The business of a food premises is governed by the requirements set out in REGULATIONS 638 OF 22 June 2018, REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE GENERAL HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD PREMISES, THE TRANSPORT OF FOOD AND RELATED MATTERS, promulgated under the FOODSTUFFS, COSMETICS AND DISINFECTANTS ACT, 1972 (ACT 54 OF 1972).

It is stated in the regulations that a food establishment must be located, designed, constructed, and finished in such a manner that food can be handled hygienically on the premises at any time without creating a health hazard.

In addition, all interior surfaces of walls, sides or ceilings or of roofs without ceilings and the surfaces of the floor must not have open joints or open seams and must be made of smooth, rust-free, non-toxic, cleanable and non-absorbent material that is dust proof and water resistant. Furthermore, with having clean premises, ensuring good hygienic conditions also include proper personal hygiene of food handlers.

Personal hygiene:

  1. Food handlers should wear clean Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) every day. If single-use PPE is used, it should be removed at the end of each shift, work day and in-between breaks.
  2. Reusable PPE can be used multiple times if it is kept in a clean and hygienic condition.

A smart idea to ensure that food handlers have clean PPEs every day is to provide them with more than one set (one on, one in the cupboard and one in the wash).

  1. A crucial step in ensuring that food is hygienic is handwashing – as often as possible during the shift or work day.

Hands should be washed with running water, hand soap and dried with disposable hand-drying material or other hand drying facilities.

Proper pest control measures are essential on food premises to ensure hygienic conditions. Pests can be a major source of contamination of foodstuffs in any food premises.

In order to prevent rodent and roach infestations, food needs to be stored appropriately. Bulk stock, previously opened, should be stored in containers with tight fitting lids to safeguard against pests.

These are just a few of the areas mentioned to ensure that food can be handled hygienically at all times on a food premises. Clean food premises and wholesome food will always have happy clients.

For any further information, questions, comments or queries, please contact us at the respective Regional GRDM offices as follows:

Head-Office
Johan Compion – Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services
E-mail: info@gardenroute.gov.za
Tel: 044 803 1300

Klein Karoo and Kannaland Region
Desmond Paulse – Chief: Municipal Health (Klein Karoo)
Tel: 044 272 2241 / Cell: 083 678 6530
Address: 94 St John Street, Oudtshoorn

Mossel Bay
Sam Bendle – Chief: Municipal Health (Mossel Bay),
Tel:  044 693 0006 /Cell: 083 630 6108
Address C/O Sampson & Marling Street, Ext 23, Mossel Bay.

George Outeniqua
Emmy Douglas – Chief: Municipal Health (Outeniqua)
Tel: 044 803 1501 / Cell: 078 457 2824
Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George, 6530

George Wilderness
Jessica Erasmus – Acting Chief: Wilderness (George)
Tel: 044 803 1501 / Cell: 081 346 3118
Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George

Knysna Region
James McCarthy – Chief: Knysna
Tel: 044 382 7214 / Cell: 082 805 9417
Address: 26A Queen Street, Knysna

Bitou Region
Gawie Vos – Chief: Lakes (Bitou)
Tel: 044 501 1600 / Cell: 083 557 1522
Address: 7 Gibb Street, Plettenberg Bay

Hessequa Region
Haemish Herwels – Chief: Hessequa
Tel: 028 713 2438 / Cell: 083 678 6545
Address: 23 Michell Street, Riversdale, 6670

ENDS

26 October 2022 Media Release: Kids from Plett Primary School reminded of the importance of clean hands

Media Release: Kids from Plett Primary School reminded of the importance of clean hands

For Immediate Release
26 October 2022

Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to minimise the spread of germs. Keeping hands clean can prevent 1 in 3 diarrheal illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as the common cold or flu.

In honour of this year’s Global Handwashing Day with the theme “Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene,” Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Bitou sub-office, Zoleka Goniwe, Sophia Marthinus and Nokuphiwa Mbali visited Plett Pre-primary School to refresh learners and educators about the importance of washing hands. The topics of “the appropriate times to wash hands” and “how to clean hands properly,” were also discussed.

Global Handwash Day is an annual reminder that handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. That is why handwashing is essential, especially when preparing a meal, before enjoying a meal, using the bathroom and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. After changing baby nappies and handling waste, hands should also be washed.

In closing, the kids enjoyed an activity demonstrated by the team, to illustrate how hands should be washed. The principal of the facility expressed words of gratitude to the GRDM team for reaching out to the school in the fight against the occurrence of diseases that can be prevented by washing hands properly and often.

Clean hands save lives.

Did you know?

Educating people about handwashing helps them and their communities to stay healthy. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, studies show that handwashing education in the community can:

  • Reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhoea by about 23%–40%
  • Reduce the number of school days children missed because of gastrointestinal illness by 29%–57%
  • Reduce diarrhoeal illness in people with weakened immune systems by about 58%
  • Reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by about 16%–21%

Feature Image: EHPs from the GRDM Bitou sub-office, Zoleka Goniwe, Sophia Marthinus and Nokuphiwa Mbali with the learners of Plett Pre-primary School during their visit. Zoleka Goniwe (left) and Sophia Marthinus (right), demonstrating the proper handwash techniques to all present.

ENDS

14 October 2022 Media Release: Health Education Committee invited to witness youth who dance with ‘change in mind’

Media Release: Health Education Committee invited to witness youth who dance with ‘change in mind’

For Immediate Release
14 October 2022

A small group of youngsters known as the ‘Spiritual Dance Group’ from the Kwanokutula community in Riversdale, Hessequa, last week performed various dance routines choreographed by Rebecca Johnson, Suikerbossie Soup Kitchen. Rebecca invited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Health Education Committee to witness several of their performances. The theme of their dance routines revolved around illegal dumping, hand washing, looking after your environment and self-love.

The GRDM Health Education Committee, which consists of Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP), was recently established and exists for the following reasons: 

  • municipal health education needs of the community are addressed by improving the GRDM municipal health education;
  • standardise and streamline GRDM municipal health education materials; and
  • increase public awareness pertaining to the nine key performance areas of Municipal Health Services.

EHPs have a statutory obligation to ensure that everyone lives in an environment that is not harmful to his or her health and well-being according to Section 24 of the Constitution of South Africa.

PERFORMANCE BY DANCE GROUP

Upon arrival at the old Kwanokutula sports field, EHPs were met by a group of kids between the ages of five (5) and 15. Parents, in full support of the initiative, were present as they cheered the kids who performed with precision. EHPs also joined the various groups when they danced alongside the kids in support of the initiative.

According to the Chairperson of the Health and Education Committee, Jessica Erasmus: “It is not often you find a passionate young group of children pouring their hearts out in dance and especially a dance to promote a cleaner environment, amongst others. With young children taking a stance like this, we need to show our support for them as young ambassadors for the community. We will continue to support initiatives like these and hope to have more youthful groups cross our paths to fight for a cleaner environment together and to eradicate illegal dumping as a team.”

THE STORY BEHIND REBECCA’S INSPIRATION

When asked how she came up with the idea, Rebecca said: “At the nearby bus stop with a few of my friends, Hannelie Claassen, Claradene Blaauw, Juanita Jafta and Ronica Maans, we saw bullying taking place and then decided to stand by the children to ensure it didn’t happen again. What happened in the past was that whenever a bus arrived, the older kids would push the younger ones to the back. There’s a system in place now that allows the shortest kids to stand in front while the taller kids stand in the back. After we resolved that issue, I thought about some fun, activities for kids to build relations. It’s easy for kids to get involved in the wrong things when they’re bored, which is why I recruited them for spiritual dance classes.”

MORE ABOUT REBECCA AND HER FAMILY

Rebecca has lived in Kwanokutula for 12 years. She used to be a Sunday school teacher and started a soup kitchen about four months ago. She is a mother of a 23-year-old son, 14- and 12-year-old daughters, and a 27-year-old daughter with one child. With her passion for kids, she’s also adopting six and eight-year-olds from a neighbourhood where parents struggle with substance abuse. “I want my house to become a permanent home for them,” said Rebecca.

VOORSTELLE VIR ‘N SKOON OMGEWING

Volgens Raadslid Betsie van Noordwyk van Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit wat woon in die Hessequa-streek, is daar al pogings aangewend om Kwanokutula skoon te maak, maar onwettige storting gaan voort. “Ek het self al vir ure rommel opgetel, maar die volgende dag het dit weer dieselfde gelyk”. Rdl. Van Noordwyk moedig die publiek aan om ten alle tye op ‘n verantwoordelike manier op te tree. “Die impak van onwettige storting kan tot baie ernstige implikasies lei”.

“Onwettige storting lok, onder andere, muise en rotte wat siektes aan mense kan versprei. Siektes sluit in die Hantavirus Pulmonêre Sindroom, Leptospirose, Rat-bytkoors, Salmonellose, Tularemia and Limfositiese Chorio-mengitis,” het Rdl van Noordwyk gesê.

Onwettige storting moet aangemeld word by plaaslike munisipaliteite.

ENDS

6 October 2022 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners educate communities in celebration of World Environmental Health Day

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners educate communities in celebration of World Environmental Health Day

For immediate release
6 October 2022

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations as a worldwide call-to-action, to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity now and in the future. Environmental Health plays an essential role in the implementation of these SDGs.

As World Environmental Health Day was celebrated on 26 September 2022, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) also contributed to this world-wide initiative and rolled out awareness and education campaigns in the Mossel Bay, Klein Karoo and Bitou areas. This year’s theme was “Strengthening Environmental Health Systems for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Mossel Bay

EHPs from the GRDM Municipal Health office in Mossel Bay, embarked on a campaign to educate the community of Mossel Bay about environmental health issues that could affect their health and overall well-being.

FLTR: Environmental Health Practitioners David Malok (left), Carin Olwagen (Registered Psychological Counsellor, Department of Health – second, left), Monique Anthony (middle), Anelisa Fizani (second, right) and Neo-lay Britz (right) at a clinic in Mossel Bay.

The team informed communities on why and where to report health violations and what individuals can do to minimise risks relating to their health. To demonstrate these risks, a short video clip was played at the D’Almeida and Asla Clinics in the area with the help of Carin Olwagen, a registered Psychological Counsellor at the D’Almeida Clinic.

While the team distributed pamphlets in the area as part of the campaign activities, they also explained the purpose of the Environmental Health function to community members.

In closing, containers were placed at both clinics, to allow the public to insert and report any complaints in relation to health violations. Complainants also have the option to do this anonymously. Over two hundred (200) pamphlets were distributed during the campaign.

Bridgton, Oudtshoorn

GRDM Environmental Health Practitioner, Willie Plaatjies, in discussion with a resident of the Klein Karoo area, during the door-to-door campaign.

The EHPs from the GRDM’s Municipal Health office in Oudtshoorn, collaborated with the Environmental Officer and Cleansing Services section of the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality to roll out a clean-up and awareness activity regarding illegal waste dumping in Oudtshoorn. The programme was rolled out to ensure clean and hygienic conditions in the community of Old-Bridgton.

The clean-up operation was done by Oudtshoorn Municipality’s Cleansing Services section and the activities involved the collection of illegally dumped waste, sweeping streets in the neighbourhood, as well as the transport and disposal of waste at the Grootkop waste landfill site. A health awareness and education campaign was essential to ensure sustainability during this waste clean-up project. EHPs from the GRDM’s Oudtshoorn office conducted door-to-door education and awareness in the illegal dumping hotspot areas to inform the public of the health risks posed by illegal waste sites in the community.

Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) participants, appointed by the local municipality, are trained by EHPs as peer educators and were utilised to assist them with door-to-door awareness and education activities.

The team further collaborated with different community stakeholders and role-players (e.g. church leaders) and the local municipality to develop appropriate health education material and different methodologies e.g. pamphlets, posters, fridge magnets etc. to conduct health and hygiene awareness and education.

The discussions of the campaign included the following:

  • Health risks of illegal dump sites which attract vectors like mice, rats, flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches etc. This in turn, spreads communicable diseases such as encephalitis, dengue fever, leptospirosis etc. Furthermore, toxic releases from illegal dumpsites lead to respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Children sometimes play at the sites and step on broken glass, nails and sharp  objects – in some cases this can be fatal.
  • The correct way to manage waste in black bags, rubbish bins or skips for garden waste.
  • Where illegal dumping can be reported at the local municipality.
  • Waste removal arrangements on public holidays.

Through this initiative 140 households were reached.

An open space that was previously used as a dumping site is now planned to be used by the community as netball and cricket fields.

To measure the success of this initiative, monitoring and evaluation of areas will be done by the GRDM team, to determine the impact of the campaign performed by the EHPs and EPWP workers.

Bitou

Bitou’s EHPs  visited the Kranshoek Primary School to inform learners and educators on what Environmental Health function entails (Scope of Practise).  The team also explained all the nine (9) Municipal Health key performance areas in detail.

GRDM’s Environmental Health Practitioner, Nokuphiwa Mbali, demonstrating proper hand wash techniques to the learners during the session.

In addition, they conducted and presented a hand-wash activity to the learners and explained to them what the proper techniques of washing hands are and the importance of clean hands for ones health. All learners showed their eagerness and enjoyed the activities during the session. The principal extended a word of gratitude to the team and thanked them for their role in educating the communities of the Kranshoek area.

Did you know?

Municipal Health Services is defined in the National Health Act, 2003 include the following Key Performance Areas: Water Quality Monitoring, Food Control, Solid Waste Management, Health Surveillance of Premises, Supervision and Prevention of Contagious Diseases (excluding Immunization), Vector Control, Environmental Pollution Control, the Disposal of Human Remains and the Safe handling of Chemical Substances. (This excludes port health, malaria control and control of hazardous substances. The above-mentioned aspects are mentioned in the Scope of Environmental Health Practitioners).

Environmental Health Practitioners have a statutory obligation to protect the health of the present and the future generations as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

ENDS

27 September 2022 Media Release: Food safety during load shedding

Media Release: Food safety during load shedding

For immediate release
27 September 2022

Load shedding occurs often in South Africa. The length and frequency of load shedding may have an impact on how safe the food is in a refrigerator.

Below are important advice and useful information on how to keep food safe during periods of loadshedding.

As long as it is cold, food should be safe.

Food in a refrigerator should be safe if there are no more than four hours of power outages; the refrigerator door is closed; and the temperature of the refrigerator was 4 °C at the start of load shedding.

Food safety issues, including spoiling, are especially likely to occur with perishable goods. Examples are:

  • Fresh meat                                                                   
  • Fresh poultry
  • Fresh fish
  • Milk
  • Soft cheeses
  • Possibly even leftovers, depending on how long they were in the fridge prior to load shedding.

The recommended temperature for refrigerators is 4°C or below, although in South Africa, consumer refrigerators often operate at higher temperatures.

It is then best to discard foods in the above list if the outage is longer than 2 hours AND where the fridge temperature is higher than 4°C. Keeping a thermometer in the fridge is the only way to monitor desired fridge temperatures.

Different bacteria start growing at different minimum temperatures, but for every 1°C increase above that minimum growth temperature, bacteria in food grows (double themselves) faster.  It is therefore essential to keep the door closed to ensure that the temperature stays as low as possible during the power outage.

If the freezer door is kept closed, frozen food will stay frozen for around 48 hours. Perishable food must be cooked as soon as possible if they begin to thaw for any reason since they CANNOT be refrozen.

Given the price of food, one is hesitant to throw it out, yet you cannot taste or smell unhealthy food. Unsafe food may still smell and taste quite fine, but when a meal smells “wrong” it typically indicates deterioration and the consumer should not eat it.

If the load shedding schedule is known, one can prepare for it as follows:

  • Ensure the temperature in the refrigerator is 4 °C or as near to it as feasible.
  • Frozen leftovers, milk, fresh meat and poultry, fish, and other goods can be moved from the refrigerator to the freezer that you might not need right away.
  • Buy fresh food in smaller quantities, prepare it fast, and enjoy it instead of buying it in bulk and storing it in the refrigerator for a long time if there is no freezer accessible.
  • Consider purchasing long-lasting items, such as unopened canned foods and sterile or UHT drinks, all of which have a lengthy shelf life outside of the refrigerator, once they’re opened, they too need to be chilled.
  • To keep perishable goods as cold as possible for as long as possible, you can also place ice packs around them in the fridge.

ENDS

Wrap-up of today’s Environmental Health Day talks by the Executive Manager of Community Services, Clive Africa

Wrap-up of today’s Environmental Health Day talks by the Executive Manager of Community Services, Clive Africa

“Section 24 of the Constitution of South Africa reads that everyone has a right to a safe and healthy environment. At the Garden Route District Municipality, we, the administration and our political elected officials, are very serious about protecting the rights of our citizens. Municipal Health Services in the district are performed by our 40 Environmental Health Practitioners, previously known as Health Inspectors. These officials do regular health and hygiene inspections at schools, créches, shops, butcheries, barber shops, hospitals and many other facilities.”

“I think you would agree with me that we live in one of the most beautiful places in our country and we have a collective responsibility to preserve our heritage – especially for future generations to come. But, we are noting that the issue of illegal dumping is becoming a huge problem within our communities. Illegal dumpsites are places where diseases easily spread and where rats and other vectors breed. These places are causing our people and in particular, children, to get sick. We have seen this, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and many families have lost loved ones because of this illness.”

“We, therefore, urge the people of the district to eliminate illegal dumping within the next 5 years. Now, this is achievable – if everyone works together, we can do it!”

“We ask you to report any incidents of illegal dumping at your local municipal offices. The motto of municipal health is “prevention is better than cure”. We will continue to urge the public to still apply good hygiene practices by continuing to wash hands and sanitise regularly.”

“Health education remains one of our most critical functions and we will keep on informing the public on any health-related issue because what you don’t know can possibly harm you or kill you,” – Clive Africa, Executive Manager: Community Services, Garden Route District Municipality.

 

Read more about Environmental Health Practitioners here.

#WEHD2022 #WorldEnvironmentalHealthDay #education #teamsontheground #saveearth #environment #environmenthealth #EHP #GardenRouteDM #GardenRoute #SouthAfrica #WesternCape #SDG #SustainableDevelopmentGoals #UN #UnitedNations #IllegalDumping #StopIllegalDumping

An Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) explains our role in the Disposal of the Dead

An Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) explains our role in the Disposal of the Dead

“Disposal of the dead is one of the nine key municipal health functions performed by EHP. It is governed by the Regulations relating to the Management of Human Remains, Regulation number 363 of 22 May 2013, promulgated under the National Health Act 61 of 2003.

For EHPs, the disposal of the dead involves the monitoring of funeral undertakers, mortuaries, crematoriums and cemeteries for compliance and also the management, control and monitoring of exhumation, rebuttal and disposal of human remains.

Currently, as it stands, ESKOM has continued to implement load-shedding for weeks. It is for this reason that Environmental Health Practitioners urge all funeral undertakers, crematoria and mortuaries to have a backup plan (like generators during load-shedding). Fridges need to keep running during power outages to prevent bodies from decomposing. The decomposed bodies do not only compromise the dignity of the deceased but also pose health threats for those exposed,” – Khanyisa Shoto, Environmental Health Practitioner, Garden Route District Municipality.

Read more about Environmental Health Practitioners here.

#WEHD2022 #WorldEnvironmentalHealthDay #education #teamsontheground #saveearth #environment #environmenthealth #EHP #GardenRouteDM #GardenRoute #SouthAfrica #WesternCape #DisposalOfTheDead #Exhumation #Rebuttal #Funeral #Mortuary