Bertha Gxowa Hospital is the latest health care facility to join the internationally recognised Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) initiative, which serves to create a global network of hospitals and health systems seeking to improve environmental performance, while sharing best practices and finding solutions to the common challenges they share.
The hospital has launched its recycling campaign, with moving to zero waste as a long-term goal. The launch was held earlier this week among staff, patients and visitors.
“The importance of GGHH projects is to ensure that we create a new ethos and goals to help reduce environmental footprint, promote public and environmental health,” explains Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali-Hadebe, CEO of Bertha Gxowa Hospital.”
groundWork’s GGHH campaigner, Luqman Yesufu said; “We welcome Bertha Gxowa Hospital to the GGHH network, and it is another step towards sustainable health care in Gauteng.”
The GGHH network has more than 826 members in 48 countries on six continents, who represent the interests of over 27,800 hospitals and health center, committed to reducing their ecological footprint and promoting environmental health. South Africa has over 40 member hospitals and health care facilities from four provinces – Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Free State.
Bertha Gxowa Hospital has started encouraging patients to return unused or expired medicines. They hope to change people’s perceptions around disposing of medicine, as doing so in the sewer and bins leads to toxic drugs in our water supply, soil and food chains.
The waste goal hopes to phase out infectious waste boxes by replacing them with permanent reusable bins. Meanwhile, the zero waste recycling initiative aims to recycle all reusable waste materials generated in the hospital, including cans, papers and food waste.
The medical waste generated in the hospital has dropped on average from 5593,9 kg in 2016 to 3740,08 in 2017. Their management efforts have also saved them R 4106 since October 2016.
- Environmental justice organization groundWork is the focal organization coordinating GGHH membership for the African region.