The EHRU out and about


Dr Caradee Wright presents at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Webinar on Heat and Maternal and Child Health on the 27 October 2022

Caradee Wright was one of five panel members who gave short presentations on the risk of heatwave and extreme heat on child and maternal health at the AGU webinar leading up to the Chapman conference on Climate and Health in Africa from 22-25 May 2023. Caradee spoke about the South African National Heat Action Plan Guidelines and the key elements required to make the guidelines effective for implementation and impact. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session with the attendees.

Website with programme and bios:

Dr Caradee Wright attends ILRI One Health Research Education and Outreach Centre in Africa (OHRECA) Advisory Committee meeting in Nairobi (3-4 October 2022)

Caradee Wright attended the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) One Health Research Education and Outreach Centre in Africa (OHRECA) Advisory Committee meeting from 3 to 4 October 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. The goal of the One Health Research, Education and Outreach Centre in Africa is to improve the health of humans, animals and ecosystems through capacity building, strengthening of local, regional and global networks and provision of evidence-based policy advice on One Health in sub-Saharan Africa. The centre has four thematic areas: control of neglected tropical zoonotic diseases, emerging infectious diseases, food safety and informal markets, and prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance (One Health Centre in Africa | International Livestock Research Institute (


Caradee serves as an Advisor to OHRECA and attended the meeting to hear about OHRECA’s past 6 month’s work. Project leaders presented their work packages and several postgraduate students presented their studies.

Dr Caradee Wright speaks about Air Quality in our cities on eNCA

Dr Caradee Wright joined a conversation on eNCA with City of Tshwane’s Ms Katlego Mathebe (Environment and Agriculture Management MMC) and City of Ekurhuleni’s Mr Andre Du Plessis (Environment and Waste MMC) to talk about commitments made in their respective cities to improve air quality.



Bianca Wernecke talks to Gugulethu Mfuphi on KhayaFM to talk about air quality in South African cities (25 May 2022)

The E&HRU’s Bianca Wernecke talks to Gugulethu Mfuphi of KhayaFM’s “KAYA BIZ” about air quality in South Africa’s big cities and what they are committing to doing to improve the air that we breathe!



E&HRU’s talks about One Health at this year’s Elephant One Health Workshop (23 and 25 May 2022)

Caradee Wright and Bianca Wernecke joined this year’s training workshop on One Health Training to talk about environmental health, the health of the environment and policy in a One Health World.

Important health tips to follow in the event of flooding
Dr Caradee Wright talks about air pollution in Africa in video released by World Health Organization

Dr Caradee Wright talks about the major health impacts of air pollution in Africa, the key drivers of air pollution on the continent and how one can mitigate the causes and the impacts of air pollution.

Too hot to handle? Dialogue on heatwaves in Cape Town

Cape Town, much like other cities in the global south is contending with a myriad of climate change-related challenges. While heatwaves have attracted little attention, they occupy a significant and urgent place on the local government agenda. In this context, on 25 February 2022, City of Cape Town and the EDP convened a Futurecasting dialogue titled ‘Too hot to handle? Tackling heatwaves in Cape Town’ about preparing for extreme heat events in the city.  

Dr Thandi Kapwata, Specialist Scientist with the South African Medical Council’s Environment & Health Research Unit provided an overview of current and future heatwaves in South Africa with a focus on their health impacts. Dr Kapwata also outlined the heat early warning systems based on health indicators that she is working on with colleagues at EHRU.

Prof. Guéladio Cissé from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute visits the E&HRU

On Friday the 7th of February, the E&HRU in Johannesburg hosted Prof. Dr.  Guéladio Cissé, Ecosystem Health Sciences Unit (EHS), Department of Epidemiology, Swiss TPH, University of Basel, Switzerland. Key areas of discussion included preparation for their collaborative work on the impact of heat on cardiovascular diseases and the work on climate change and respiratory illness in Limpopo Province. The meeting was also aimed at discussing successes and challenges, as well as discussing logistics and planning of the projects. The meeting was concluded with a walkabout through the E&HRU offices and an introduction to all staff members.



Dr Caradee Wright and Dr Thandi Kapwata from the SAMRC’s Environment and Health Research Unit present at the preparatory webinar for the “66th session of the commission on the status of Women” (a collaborative effort between Ilitha Labantu, AWIF and UN Women)

In preparation for this year’s Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Dr Wright and Dr Kapwata spoke about how extreme heat is associated with increased heat-related morbidity and mortality, inter-personal violence and peer violence (including Gender-based violence) and worsened mental health, including feelings of emotional distress, anger and feelings of helplessness. As Climate Change has been quoted, by the Lancet Commission on Climate Change, to be “the greatest threat of the 21st Century”, and as South Africa will be disproportionately affected by a warming climate, it is important that we are made aware of the associated risks, but also the possible solutions.

View or download the Climate change and violence presentation


Prof Angela Mathee and Senior Scientist Sizwe Nkambule talk about the innovative SAMRC Wastewater Surveillance and Research Programme (WSARP) on an African Alliance Podcast episode

Prof Angela Mathee and Senior Scientist Sizwe Nkambule were invited to join a podcast hosted by the African Alliance, where they shared the experiences regarding the SAMRC Wastewater Surveillance and Research Programme (WSARP). The Podcast Series hosted by the African Alliance and the Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group, seeks to provide a platform for researchers, advocates, and thought leaders to engage in thought-provoking conversations on COVID-19, science, and a wide range of other related issues that will be of interest to a diverse audience. The podcast aims to ask good questions, provide accurate information, make connections between different regions of the world, and highlight how interconnected we are in terms of our challenges and solutions.

Entitled “What’s Poo Got To Do With It?”, Prof Mathee and Mr Nkambule spoke about the exciting and innovative SAMRC WSARP which currently tracks SARS-CoV-2 RNA fragments at 72 wastewater treatment works (WWTWs) across four Provinces in South Africa. Prof Mathee spoke on the role EHRU and other SAMRC units and platforms in developing this wastewater surveillance programme since 2019, as well as the planning and challenges faced in establishing such a programme. Mr Nkambule also shared experiences on the weekly routine which included wastewater sample collection, laboratory processes, and dissemination of results to public health stakeholders and the general public. The team further spoke about the establishment of public facing SAMRC SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Dashboard, which provides weekly updates on trends observed in the WWTWs that are currently being monitored.  The team also shared how such a surveillance programme can be scaled up in South Africa, and how this information can be used by public health stakeholders to further monitor and combat COVID-19 in the country and the continent.

Bianca Wernecke is awarded Best Overall Paper at this year’s National Association for Clean Air Conference (NACA 2021)

The Annual Conference of the National Association for Clean Air took place between 6 to 8 October 2021, under the theme “Evidence-based pathways to clean air in South Africa”.

The EHRU’s Senior Scientist Bianca Wernecke’s presentation on “Fuel use, air pollution and health in two South African low-income communities – Navigating a non-randomized control trial during a global pandemic” was awarded “Best Overall Paper” at this year’s NACA 2021 Conference.

The presentation outlined how the original study design of a non-randomized control trial had to be re-thought when COVID-19 and National Lockdown occurred, communicating initial findings, lessons learnt and indicating future work.

View or Download the Presentation: Fuel Use, Air Pollution And Health In Two South African Low-income Communities - Navigating A Non-randomized Control Trial During A Global Pandemic

New WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines

In 2016, Dr Caradee Wright from the SAMRC’s E&HRU was elected a member of the WHO’s Guideline Development Group to revise the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Air Quality Guidelines. The new Global Air Quality Guidelines were released yesterday and offer guidance on thresholds and limits for key air pollutants that pose health risks.

Follow this link for the press release :

Follow this link to access the new guidelines:

Among other important messages, the new WHO Air Quality Guidelines Report calls for action to deal with sand and dust storms as a growing priority. A Good Practice Statement for Sand and Dust Storms is included in the report in an effort to help strengthen and/ or establish air quality management programme. The EHRU together with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and the Department of Health compiled a comprehensive Fact Sheet on dust and sand storms explaining how they affect health and the environment, and explains how one can protect oneself during sand and dust storms.

SAMRC Environment and Health Research Unit (EHRU) contributes to ASSAf fact booklet on COVID-19

Caradee Wright and Zama Kunene of the SAMRC EHRU contribute to a booklet on COVID-19 facts, commissioned by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). This booklet, which a collective effort by academics who are Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and other invited scholars, presents facts that one needs to know in order to understand the present crisis and the various options available to respond to it.

More on this important piece of work can be found on:

Download Booklet

Caradee Wright was recently appointed as Steering Committee Member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE)

SAGE is housed within the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) and is steered by members of ASSAf and the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).

The Scientific Advisory Group supports Africa’s response to COVID-19 and also:

  • aims to serve as a think-tank on current or potential emergencies.
  • aims to base its advisories and other outputs on the best available evidence and related data. Where necessary, SAGE shall issue strategic situational reports and precautionary notices / advisories. These reports and advisories shall be made publicly accessible. Where necessary, reports and advisories will be updated on a rolling basis.
  • shall aim to identify knowledge gaps on, and highlight best practices and lessons learnt in relation to current or potential emergencies.
  • shall engage in fore-sighting exercises to identify threats that could lead to an emergency.

For more information go to: Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) (

Caradee Wright talks on two international platforms about the link between environmental health risks and human health

Caradee Wright spoke at the Embassy of Italy Pretoria and the Department of Science & Innovation event entitled ‘Civilian and defence applications of artificial intelligence, big data and high performance computing’ on 8 June 2021 in the session on health, e-health and personalised medicine. Caradee spoke on precision public health and the need for integrating environmental health into how we really care for communities.

The Lagos State Government held the 8th Climate Change Summit on the 8 and 9 June 2021 and Caradee Wright was invited to give the lead paper during the plenary opening session of the Climate Summit. Her paper was entitled ‘The imperative for action to protect human health from climate change threats and risks’. The Lagos Climate Action Plan was then officially launched by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo.

Dr Caradee Wright contributes to The Royal Society Climate Change: Science and Solutions Briefings
Dr Caradee Wright is one of 120 scientists from 20 countries to contribute to The Royal Society’s series of briefings for policy makers on 12 science and technology areas that are key for accelerating progress towards ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions and increased resilience to climate change. In Briefing 11 (Healthy planet, healthy people: climate change and health), Dr Wright and fellow scientists outline how climate adaptation and mitigation actions and the benefits of a net zero transition will reduce health risks from climate change.

Link to the overall website: Climate change: science and solutions | Royal Society

For the detailed brief click here.

Dr Caradee Wright‘s has a conversation with Oluwaseyi Arowosegbe on the Atmospheric Tales Podcast Series talking about Environmental Health in Africa

Transdisciplinary collaborations to advance Environmental Health in Africa – Atmospheric Tales

Dr Wright talks about environmental health, the risks affecting human health and well-being, and the value of prevention rather than mitigation with a focus on the African continent.

Topics covered are:

  • Environmental health effects related to solar radiation exposure — skin cancer, cataract, immune suppression, etc.
  • Climate change adaptation in the African context — how to be prepared for extreme heat waves?
  • The importance of collaborative and transdisciplinary work to effectively solve environmental health issues
EHRU Director Prof Angela Mathee talking on “Predicting surge in Covid via sewers” with Lester Kiewit on the Miday Report

For more information on this research and for results follow us on:

EHRU’s Dr Caradee Wright speaks to 702’s Mandy Wiener about air quality concerns in Gauteng

A strong sulphur stench has filled the air of areas around Gauteng in the past few days, raising concerns of poor air quality and associated health risks. Specialist Scientist Caradee Wright talks about possible sources, health concerns and ways to reduce these.




    EHRU presents at the 32nd annual conference of the International Sociaty for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE 2020)

    Prof. Renee Street and Dr. Busisiwe Shezi attended the 32nd annual conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE 2020) held virtually (24-27 August 2020).

    The presented topics were

    1. Occupational exposure to fine particulate matter (PM4 and PM2.5) during artisanal cookware manufacturing: personal, indoor and outdoor levels,
    2. Exposure to lead and other toxic metals from informal foundries producing cookware from scrap metal, and
    3. Ergonomic risk assessment among informal artisanal cookware manufacturers.
    The SAMRC’s Environment and Health Research Unit talks about the Lancet Commission’s most recent climate change and health report.

    Dr Caradee Wright talks to “Spotlight” about the implications of The Lancet Commission’s “2020 Countdown on Health and Climate Change” Report which was published on 2 December 2020 and is available to download here:

    The EHRU Senior Specialist Scientist talks about the report in a local context and outlines the biggest climate related environmental threats affecting the health of the people living in South Africa.

    Read the piece here:

    World Environment Day
    EH&RU’s Thandi Kapwata talks about zoonotic diseases and COVID-19, and how humans
    and the environment are interlinked
    4th Meeting of the Guideline Development Group for the Update of the WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines

    Caradee Wright attended the 4th meeting of the Guideline Development Group for the Update of the World Health Organization Global Air Quality Guidelines from 4-6 February 2020 in Bonn, Germany. The meeting took place at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe alongside the Rhine River. During that week, upstream snow melt and rain had led to flooding on the banks of the Rhine, however, fortunately, the meeting venue was on the 27th Floor and all delegates were safe for their deliberations about global air pollution thresholds and health.


    Dr Street, specialist scientist at EHRU, was invited to facilitate the North Eastern Africa Workshop on the Role of Science in Assisting Policy Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (28 – 31 October 2019)

    The workshop was designed for policymakers and scientists living or working in North Eastern Africa to enhance their capacities in embedding evidence in policy making at all levels of government. The interface between science, politics and society at large is challenging for both policymakers and scientists. The objective of this workshop series was to understand, appreciate and upskill participants on how to facilitate evidence-informed policy-making.

    For more information, please visit:

    The SAMRC supports the global ban of lead paint

    The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has reiterated its support for the global ban on lead in paint in the build-up to this year’s International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week taking place from the 20th to 26th October 2019.

    Read more about how the SAMRC supports the global ban of lead paint by following this link:

    Poster for the ban lead paint campaign

    The EHRU attended the National Department of Health’s World Environmental Health Day event in Kimberley (26-27 September 2019)

    Caradee Wright and Danielle Millar from the EHRU attended the National Department of Health’s World Environmental Health Day event in Kimberley from 26-27 September 2019. They presented an exhibition on the EHRU Climate and Health Research programme, including a short quiz (compiled by Bianca Wernecke) for visitors to the exhibit to complete. Caradee gave a presentation on the role of Environmental Health Practitioners in adapting to climate change. Danielle sat on a panel to discuss the National Climate Change and Health Adaptation Plan and Heat Health Guidelines for South Africa. Lastly, Caradee led a Commission on air pollution and health to define a way forward to tackle this important topic in the country.

    Zama Kunene explains how Urban Health can improve the lives of those who are most affected by climate change - in collaboration with the ASSAf Urban Health Working Group  (25 September 2019)

    Zama Kunene, a Scientist at the South African Medical Research Council’s EHRU, who works in collaboration with the ASSAf Urban Health Working Group, explains how Urban Health can improve the lives of those who are most affected by climate change:

    Check it out here:



    Lead exposure and human health

    Research conducted by the SAMRC’s E&HRU over more than a decade has highlighted the risks of childhood exposure to lead in South Africa, and prompted the Department of Health to regulate the lead content of paint manufactured and used in our country. The SAMRC continues to work with the Department of Health to strengthen our lead paint laws, and supports the initiatives of the World Health Organization to ban lead paint globally.

    Further information on lead paint may be found at:

    Prof Angela Mathee attended the Waste Khoro 2019: Asbestos and Land Remediation Summit in Kimberley from 17 to 19 September 2019
    The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) hosted the Waste Khoro 2019: Asbestos and Land Remediation Summit in Kimberley from 17 to 19 September 2019. Professor Cindy Stephen (Poisons Information Helpline), Professor Angela Mathee (South African Medical Research Council) and Professor Andrea Rother (University of Cape Town) attended to focus attention on the work of the Poisons Information Helpline, the need to ban lead paint and the health hazards of pesticides, respectively. Here they are seen with Mark Gordon, DDG: Chemicals and Waste Management at the DEA
    EHRU presents at the 31st annual conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (25 – 28 August 2019)

    Prof. Renee Street, Ms. Busisiwe Shezi and Ms. Thandi Kapwata attended the 31st annual conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE 2019) held in Utrecht, the Netherlands (25-28 August 2019). The presented topics were (i) Maternal exposure to indoor PM2.5 and associated adverse birth outcomes in low socio-economic households, Durban, South Africa; (ii) Using randon forest to compare associations between temperature indicators and call-cause mortality in South Africa; (iii) recycling of scrap metal into artisanal cookware: a public health threat? and (iv) Poisonous plant exposure, human health harms and the development of culturally relevant public education messaging.

    EHRU talks to school children about climate change and health during National Science Week (29 July to 3 August 2019)

    National Science Week (NSW), is an annual event aiming to exhibit and communicate awareness in science. It is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), a countrywide celebration of science involving various stakeholders and/or role players conducting science-based activities during the week. The theme for 2019 is “Facing the harsh realities of climate change”. Thanks to the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP), Bianca Wernecke from the EHRU took to the stage and engaged with schools in Gauteng to raise awareness about how climate change affects human health, especially in the South African context (for more info on all NSW activities across the country: ).

    Access the interactive “Kahoot” quiz on climate change in South Africa that was shared with the school kids on to raise awareness in your own activities.

    SAMRC EHRU talks about impacts of air pollution on human health at bilateral workshop on improving the quality of water and air  in RSA (University of Johannesburg, 19 July 2019)

    Bianca Wernecke talks about how air pollution affects human health in the South African context at a workshop based on a bilateral partnership between South Africa and France which provides a platform to discuss how we can improve the quality of water and air in our country.

    EHRU gives training on health policy for persons with albinism at the University of Pretoria Centre for Human Rights (24 June 2019)

     Caradee Wright gives training on health policy for persons with albinism at the University of Pretoria Centre for Human Rights. Mention was made of the need for sun protection and an integrated systems approach to policy and support for health and well-being. 

    EHRU partakes in Science-Policy Initiative on Air Pollution and Health – New York City, 19 June 2019

    The Academy of Science of South Africa, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences have started an initiative on “Air Pollution and Health” relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The five academies brought together leading scientists from South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and the United States as well as representatives of the UN and civil society to formalise a compact science-policy statement, which addresses global options and measures to reduce air pollution-associated risks to health.

    Caradee Wright with previous UN Chief Scientist Jacqueline McGlade at the United Nations in New York City as part of an event to hand over a joint Academy of Sciences statement on air pollution and health to the United Nations. 

    SAMRC Press Release

    The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) was part of a high level delegation taking a stand against air pollution. Dr Caradee Wright, SAMRC’s Senior Specialist Scientist in the Environment and Health Research Unit, accompanied Himla Soodyal, Executive Officer of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) to the event. ASSAf teamed up with Brazil, Germany and the United States of America science academies, and the US National Academy of Medicine, to issue an urgent call to governments, businesses and citizens to reduce global air pollution.
    EHRU presents at 4th Sun Protection conference at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London on 4 June 2019

    Caradee Wright presented at the 4th Sun Protection conference at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London on 4 June 2019. The keynote topic was Crafting Sun Protection Messages including for Overlooked Populations and Populations with Health Disparities.  

    Dr Street facilitates a session on Science Advice for early career researchers from the Africa region (27 - 28 May 2019)

    Dr Street was invited to facilitate a session on science advice and diplomacy at a Young Scientist Symposium which was held in Durban on 27 - 28 May 2019. The Young Scientist Symposium entitled ‘ONE HEALTH: A focus on Infectious Diseases in Africa’ was hosted by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) -Twas Young Affiliate Network (TYAN), the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).

    The aim of the symposium was to increase knowledge and build capacity in infectious disease research amongst early career researchers in the Africa region. At the symposium Dr Street presented an overview on science advice / diplomacy followed by a facilitator-led case study to illustrate the theoretical and practical approaches to the use of scientific evidence in informing policy at all levels of government and the role of various stakeholders.

    EHRU hosted a Postgraduate Capacity Development Workshop in Durban (9-10 May 2019)

    The Environment and Health Research Unit in Collaboration with the University of Graz (Austria) hosted post graduate students from the University of Zululand and University of KwaZulu-Natal during a postgraduate capacity development workshop. Each year the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) has a funding call for postgraduate bursaries. This two-day postgraduate capacity development workshop aimed to assist nine postgraduate students in developing their research proposals to respond to this funding call. The participants were graduates who intend on applying for postgraduate funding in 2020 in the fields of chemistry and health. The workshop was a success and positive feedback was received from participants.

    Financial support to host this workshop was provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) and by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST).


    EHRU attends 15th European Association of Dermato-Oncology Congress from the 24-27 April 2019 in Paris, France

    Caradee Wright attended the 15th European Association of Dermato-Oncology Congress from the 24-27 April 2019 in Paris, France. This was an opportunity to learn more about trends in skin cancer epidemiology and prevention and skin cancer screening. Caradee also attended the Multi-Stakeholder Summit on Occupational Skin Cancer which aims to prepare a Global Call to Action to address skin cancer prevention in the workplace.

    At the EADO Congress E-Poster session at Maison de la Chimie, Paris

    En route to Maison de la Chimie via the Tour d’Eiffel

    In the Amphitheatre Lavoisier, Maison de la Chimie, for the start of the session on trends in skin cancer epidemiology

    On the 20th and 21st March 2019, Professors Caradee Wright and Angela Mathee from the SAMRC Environment and Health Research Unit attended, on behalf of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), a meeting on Air Pollution and Health: Science-Policy Workshop to Address a Growing Global Crisis in New York, United States of America.

    Four countries (Germany, the USA, Brazil and South Africa) participated in the meeting, which was hosted by Leopoldina, the German science academy. An important output of the meeting was a draft statement from the science academies of the four participating countries that will outline major air pollution challenges and health impacts, and call for stronger global action on air pollution and health. The meeting was particularly timeous in the light of definitive new evidence of the role that air pollution plays in non-communicable diseases such as stroke, heart disease and lung cancer (in addition to the long-established burden of death and disease from communicable diseases):

    • 29% of all deaths and disease from lung cancer
    • 17% of all deaths and disease from acute lower respiratory infection
    • 24% of all deaths from stroke
    • 25% of all deaths and disease from ischaemic heart disease
    • 43% of all deaths and disease from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (

    The meeting was attended by country delegations and international experts on air pollution and health. The South African delegation was led by Prof Wright, and included Prof Stuart Piketh from North West University, Dr Kristy Langerman from the University of Johannesburg, and Dr Siyavuya Bulani from ASSAf. The final component of the meeting was a workshop on funding opportunities offered by the German Research Foundation: DFG Workshop on International Scientific Cooperation in the Field of "Air Pollution and Health" and Funding.

    Associate Prof Caradee Wright attends and presents at the 3rd International Educational Symposium of the Melanoma World Society (1-2 March 2019)
    Caradee Wright presented at the Melanoma World Society conference in Cape Town on the 1 March 2019. The aim of the conference was to improve medical education, improve guideline development, improve patient’s access to new treatments and improve clinical research in melanoma. Her plenary presentation was “An Update of Epidemiology of Skin Cancer in South Africa”. The conference was attended by 150 dermatologists, oncologists, surgeons and others working in public health in Africa and around the world.
    Expert consultation at the World Health Organization Head Quarters to help tackle air pollution (12-14 February 2019)

    Prof Caradee Wright attends WHO’s Expert Consultation: Risk communication and intervention to reduce exposure and to minimize the health effects of air pollution as an expert advisor

    Prof Wright visiting in the Main Conference of the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

    Prof Wright standing below the South African flag at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
    Fieldwork for artisanal cookware (January 2019)

    On the search for artisanal pot makers in Giyani, Limpopo in January 2019. Preliminary investigations of potential health risks from making and using artisanal pots.  



    Attendance of the First WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health at World Health Organization Head Quarters (30 October – 1 November 2018)

    Following an invitation from the World Health Organization (WHO), Professor Angela Mathee attended the First WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland from 30 October to 1 November 2018. The conference was organized in collaboration with UN Environment, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the World Bank and the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

    The conference was held in response to a resolution of the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly (WHA68.8) in 2015, in which ministers of health asked for a major scaling-up of the response by health and other sectors to prevent air pollution diseases, exposure to air pollution and their costs to society.

    Air pollution – both ambient and household – is estimated to cause 7 million deaths per year, 5.6 million deaths are from noncommunicable diseases and 1.5 million from pneumonia. Reduction in exposure to air pollution is especially important for protecting the health of children. More than half of all pneumonia deaths in children under five years of age are caused by air pollution. Furthermore, this early life exposure is associated with an increased risk for many chronic diseases. Actions to tackle air pollution and mitigate climate change can achieve combined, and therefore substantially greater, benefits compared with the cost of implementing them.

    For further information on the conference, go to:

    An Early Warning System for Infectious Diseases – a visit to Japan (November 2018)

     In November 2018, an international team of South Africa and Japanese researchers and practitioners met in Tokyo, Japan. Researchers presented on results of work to prepare an Early Warning System for infectious Diseases, namely malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia, in southern Africa.

    A Declaration of Commitment was signed to support the practical implementation and longevity of the Early Warning System in the form of a Bureau to be hosted by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg. A final project meeting was held in January 2019 in Pretoria at the  Department of Science and Technology. Several initiatives are underway, including joint-proposals between Japanese and South African researchers, to continue what has been a successful collaboration between the two countries.