The mission for Environmental Public Health Department is: To prevent ill-health among the population of Zimbabwe through community education and regulatory mechanism, to promote a healthy living and working environment, and to safeguard community health and quality of life
All personnel in the department commit themselves to uphold the following values:
a) a commitment to the department’s mission
b) a commitment to the promotion of public health
c) a commitment to safeguard quality of life
d) a belief in the preservation of the environment
e) a commitment to partnerships and networking
f) a belief in quality of service
g) a belief in integrity and creativity
h) a belief in transparency
i) a belief in innovation
j) a belief in diligence and hands on managerial application
k) A provision of timeous, courteous and reliable service
To safeguard public health through the control of all factors in the physical environment that exercise deleterious effects on man’s physical development, health and survival.
i. Premises inspections
EHTs and EHOs inspect schools, hospitals, mines, factories, trading premises and other public institutions to ensure that standards of hygiene are maintained and that public health regulations are complied with. Advice is also given to communities on construction of improved housing.
ii. Food Quality Monitoring
All food for sale to the public including food arriving from other countries to be sold in Zimbabwe is inspected to ascertain its quality. Food samples are also collected and submitted to the laboratory for analysis in order to determine its quality, suitability for consumption and compliance with the law.
iii. Water Quality Monitoring
Sanitary inspections are conducted on drinking water sources and water samples are collected for analysis using field techniques and laboratory techniques. The chemical, bacteriological and aesthetic quality of all drinking water is ascertained through these inspections and sample analysis.
iv. Water and Sanitation Promotion
The department represents the Ministry in the National Action Committee activities on water and sanitation. EHTs and EHOs provide technical know-how on the construction and maintenance of the Blair Ventilated Pit Latrine and the upgraded shallow wells through participatory hygiene education and technical know-how. They train the builders and support community efforts in water and sanitation projects.
v. Disease Prevention and Control
The department is responsible for investigating cases of infectious diseases and tracing contacts of these diseases. In this way the source of infection and possible number of people infected can be established. EHTs and EHOs are also responsible for disease epidemic preparedness and control for priority diseases i.e. epidemic prone diseases, diseases targeted for elimination and diseases of Public Health of International Concern (PHEIC). The department also establishes and maintains disease surveillance structures like sentinel sites.
vi. Port Health Activities
The department has PHTs and PHOs stationed at all designated international airports and frontier posts to inspect vaccination certificates, imported foodstuffs and chemicals. They also inspect public premises at the ports of entry to ensure that public health nuisances are prevented or dealt with appropriately. They also process the clearance of bodies of Zimbabweans who die in foreign countries and return home for burial.
vii. Public Health Legislation
To protect the citizens of Zimbabwe and visitors to Zimbabwe, members of the Environmental Public Health Department enforce the provisions of all the Public Health Laws. They also review the laws regularly to bring them in line with prevailing situations.
viii. Health and Hygiene Promotion
Through the use of participatory and other health education techniques EHOs and EHTs counsel members of the public and influence voluntary change to positive behaviour, attitudes and practices on health issues. In this regard the unit provides education on disease prevention, nutrition, food hygiene and safety, personal and general hygiene, and on waste disposal. The health and hygiene service is provided in all contacts that the department makes with the community.
ix. Interaction with External Agencies
The department interacts with among others the following organizations in the implementation of its programs:
- European Union
- Crown Agency
- NGOs actively involved in WASH
- Institute of Water and Sanitation Development
- National Institute for Health Research
- Governmental Analyst Laboratory
- National Action Committee on Water and Sanitation
- Academic Institutions
The clients for the department are the general public, industry, parastatals, local authorities, the business community and sister government departments including the Zimbabwe uniformed forces (Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Zimbabwe Prison Services and Zimbabwe Republic police).
Membership to Standing Committees
The department is a permanent member in the following committees
- National Action Committee on Water and Sanitation
- Occupational Health and Safety Committee
- Interministerial Committee on Zoonoses Control
- Taskforce on Epidemic Prone Diseases
- Pandemic Influenza Taskforce
- National Civil Protection Committee
- Expert Committee on Malaria Vector Control
- Health Committee on State Occasions
- Health Officers’ Forum
- National Committee on Codex Alimentarius
- Food Standards Advisory Board
- Food Standards Board Committee on Nutrition
- Interministerial Committee on Capacity Building
- Environmental Health Practitioners’ Council and its Subcommittees
- Standards Association of Zimbabwe Technical Committees
Focal Point to Special Programs
The department is a Focal Point to the following special programs:
- Water Sanitation and Hygiene Programme
- International Health Regulations
- Port Health programme
Director Environmental Health
Mr G Mangwadu