Since 2011, World Environmental Health Day is observed on 27 September. The Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) is mandated to deliver environmental health services via the Municipal Health Services (MHS) division. The South African Environmental Health Conference 2023 themed “Global Environmental Public Health – standing up to protect everyone’s health each and every day” was hosted by the CWDM on 26 and 27 September at Dawn Mountain Estate in Stellenbosch.
The CWDM and the Department of Health, in collaboration with various stakeholders, joined the global community to commemorate World Environmental Health Day to raise awareness of the importance of environmental health in the prevention and control of infectious diseases to ensure healthier communities.
The conference was attended by environmental health practitioners (EHPs), academia, related organisations and businesses in the environmental health field across South Africa, offering practitioners an opportunity to pause and reflect. During the two-day conference, delegates looked at the status of environmental health in our country, identified gaps and considered best practices in order to ensure healthy environments. Presentations addressed imperative topics and challenges in this field, such as climate change, food safety and security, chemical, water and air pollution, and poor housing – the way was paved for robust discussions that led to positive resolutions.
The EHPs of the CWDM were also awarded with a certificate of appreciation for their heroic delivery of extraordinary environmental health services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In her address to the delegates, Executive Mayor Ald (Dr) Elna von Schlicht expressed her gratitude and support, “The CWDM remains unwavering in our commitment to environmental health. Through our whole-of-society approach, we prioritise the protection of a healthy environment, thus allowing our citizens to grow economically. I thank each individual involved in protecting our health each and every day and encourage you to continue to ensure that we leave behind a prosperous legacy in our corner of the world.”