The EHRU out and about

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.