In the nineteenth century, they was an increase of diseases as the results of unsanitary conditions where people lived due to urban development and that was the start of environmental health and it was known as environmental sanitation according to Balfour, nd. The emergence of primary health care was in the late 1960s and early 1970s in United stated (Cueto,2004).
The Act used to appoint Environmental health practitioners (EHPs) is National Health Act, (Act 61 of 2003) and registered with Health Professions Act (Act 56 of 1974). One of the powers given to EHPs is to enter any premises excluding a private accommodation to do inspections and investigations. EHPs must be in possession of accredited National diploma in Environmental Health, completed community service and registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)( )
The governing of environmental health operations and procedure is the responsibility of the National Department of Health (NDoH’s) Environmental Health Directorate in South Africa. The environmental health operations and procedures are implemented by the department and given to the EHPs who perform in within the scope of practice (Wright et al, 2014).
The purpose of the assignment will focus on the role EHPs plays at primary health care setting at district level. The role of EHPs is to offer a safe and healthy environment. According to Norms and standards for environmental health in South Africa Feb 2013, the municipal health services have nine functions, which include:
Prevent the spread of food borne illness through food quality monitoring programmes, principles through various techniques e.g. HACCP and
Promote the safe transportation, handling, storage and preparation of food stuffs used in the Health Establishments.
Testing food, educate food services workers and investigate complaints or food borne illness outbreaks and inspect equipment.
Water quality monitoring and hygiene management
An EHP must implement laws and regulations relating to water quality management,
Water sampling and testing on the filed or in a laboratory,
Implement proper, safe water and waste water usage,
Ensure proper refuse collection, storage and disposal of waste,
Implement right sanitation procedures and
Ensure the proper storage, treatment, collection, transportation, handling and disposal of health care waste and hazardous waste.
Surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases, excluding immunisations
Prevent the occurrence of environment-related or communicable diseases
EHPs gain samples for analysis and take action and preventative action.
Health surveillance of premises;
Monitors to ensure they are no health nuisances. Inspects wards,
Prevent and remove any condition on any premises which may cause danger to health and
Assessment of an overcrowded, dirty or unsatisfactory condition in any residential, commercial, industrial or other occupied premises.
Educate people about eating proper food and how to stay healthy. Conduct research, teach students and publish research about the environment.
Educate the public about the danger of hazardous waste.
Investigate vectors, their habitats or breeding places and
Implement vector control programmes by spraying, baiting or fumigation.
Environmental pollution control
Responsibility: Ensure hygienic working, living and recreational environments, identify polluting agents and sources of water, air and soil pollution.
Disposal of the dead
Monitoring of funeral undertakers, mortuaries, graves, embalmers, crematoriums and cemeteries for compliance,
Managing, controlling and monitoring exhumations and reburial or disposal of human remains.
Chemical safety, but excludes port health, malaria control and control of hazardous substances;
Identifying, monitoring, evaluating and preventing the use of chemicals that can be dangerous to human health.
According to Balfour, nd, Primary health care have the following elements to follow namely
Education on health problems
Starfield, 2005, state that a good primary care helps to prevent illness and death
Promotion of food supply and nutrition
Everyone has a right to access to healthcare services and sufficient food and water as shown in Section 27 of South African Constitution.
Water and Basic sanitation
Maternal and child health, including Family planning, Immunisation, Prevention and treatment of local endemic diseases
Health education with the mothers on the importance of breast feeding, immunisation (Cueto,2004)
Appropriate treatment of common diseases an injuries and
Provision of essential drugs
Primary health care and EHP have a similar quality which is the health of people and decreasing of diseases and EHPs focuses on both health and safety of the people by conducting the above mentioned functions. Section 24 of the Constitution state that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing, EHPs must ensure that (Wright et al, 2014).
Both the systems need each other for the betterment of the people.