Established in 1997, the Environmental Health Research Group is growing into one of the leading research groups in South Africa and internationally. The group falls within Natural Resources and the Environment and forms part of the Pollution and Waste Competency Area.
In South Africa, the key focus areas for environmental health are:
- Acute respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and asthma
- Lung diseases, especially tuberculosis
- Water borne diseases, particularly cholera
- Vector borne diseases including malaria and bilharzia.
The research priorities for the Environmental Health Research Group are based on several criteria, which include:
- Those focus areas prioritised by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Health;
- alignment with the principles of Agenda 21;
- our capability to provide high quality research within appropriate timeframes;
- opportunities to collaborate and build research alliances;
- conducting applied research with the potential to make an impact and improve quality of life; and
- continued growth in our skills, knowledge and networking to ensure the group is of an international standard.
The Environmental Health Research Group currently focuses on three core research areas:
- Climate change and health
- Vulnerability to environmental health risks, especially air pollution
Most of the Environmental Health Research Group activities and publications fit into one or other of these three categories although some are of a more generic nature. Additional contract work includes evaluation and risk assessment of air pollution monitoring data for industry, Environmental Impact Assessments and Health Impact Assessments / Health Risk Assessments.
South African Environmental Health Research Network
The newly established Environmental Health Research Network had its first workshop on 17 August 2009. The purpose of the network is threefold:
- To strengthen environmental health research in South Africa
- To encourage collaboration and idea sharing to augment results for meaningful impact
- To gain a better understanding of the environmental health baseline of South Africa.
For more information, please visit the Environmental Health Research Network website.