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Our Mission

The Department of Environmental Health and Occupational Health and Safety is dedicated to contributing to the sustainable socio-economic development of the country by producing  competent,  compassionate, democrat, accountable, responsible  and  all  rounded  multidisciplinary  professionals  in congruent with  the  development  and  transformation  policies,  conducting problem-based research and proving relevant community services.

Our Vision

We aim to be the leading department in teaching, training, research and community service in East Africa by the year 2020.

Our Work

Environmental  health  sciences  is  a  broad,  interdisciplinary  field  with  a  primary  focus  on  the effects of biological, chemical, and physical environmental agents on man.  In practice, activities within  this  broad  field  include  studies  of  environmental  risk  assessment  and  management, epidemiological  studies  and  basic  science  research  to  provide  mechanistic  and  toxicological analyses  of  the  effects  of  environmental  agents  and  to  develop  techniques  with  which  to  study and  control  these  effects.  It  provides  a  range  of  theoretical  skills  and  practical  knowledge  to professionals  with  an  interest  in  environmental  health  or  already  working  in  the  field.

We aim  to  train  qualified  Environmental  and Occupational Health and Safety professionals with a mission to make a difference in establishing Safe and Healthy working culture, positive and supportive working environment in industrial and public  sector,  solving  Environmental  and  Occupational  related  health  problems  at  national  level and responding to the current global environmental concerns effectively; to conduct relevant  basic  and  applied  research  in  the  field to help identify practical solutions for  fundamental  environmental  and  occupational  health  and  safety  related problems thereby contributing to the  improvement  of occupational health and safety services and health care delivery systems of the nation; and to provide community service in relation to environmental protection, disease prevention, accident prevention and health promotion.

Our Department provides different undergraduate programs including regular, direct and advance standing extension and summer programs. We also provide post graduate programs such as a Masters Program in environmental science and Masters of public health in environmental health and occupational health & safety management specialty tracks.

Our Background

The  first  Public  Health  College  and  Training  Center  was  opened  in  October  1954  in  Gondar town.  The  objective  of  the  college  was  to  train  the  required  categories  of  health  workers  in  a manner  which  would  enable  them  to  solve  the  problems  relevant  to  the  health  needs  of  the community.  The  training  program  centered  on  the  production  of  health  team  composed  of  the health  officer,  community  nurse,  and environmental  health  technician  (sanitarian).  These three  categories  were  trained  together  as  a  team,  and  upon  graduation,  they  were  assigned  to rural health centers all over the country to work as a team.

The training of sanitarians continued in Ethiopia 1956. The duration of the course was one-year theory and practice in the college and one-year internship period with the other team members in the rural Training Health Center.  Until 1964, the candidates were recruited after completion of eighth grade.  After  1964,  the  entrance  requirement  was  raised  to  the  completion  of  10th  grade and the course was extended to three years. Average enrollment was around 30 students per year. The entrance requirement was further extended to a completion of 12th grade since 1978.

From 1956  up  to  1987/88,  Gondar  was  the  only  School  for  the  training  of  Sanitarians  in  the  country. However,  in  1988,  another  environmental  health  school was  opened  at  diploma  level  in  Jimma. Our current Department is rooted in this wealth of tradition and knowledge.

Research & Community Service Activities

Our Department is providing community services through TTP programs including outreach health services for many households in five TTP sites of the college (T/Dingay, Chilga, Kolladiba, Addis Zemen and Woreta), health services in two health centers (Azezo and Gondar health center) in Gondar town.

Our staff are also currently engaged in various research activities including those funded by the University. Within the department broad, interdisciplinary researches are conducted by the staffs around the following areas:

  • Food, water supply and sanitation

Solid waste management; liquid waste management; water and sanitation project evaluation; health care and hazardous waste management; waste recycling; clean environment; environmental impact assessment; physico – chemical water analysis; biological water quality; water bodies pollution; infection prevention(Malaria, TB,  HIV/AIDS, Leishmaniasis); environmental toxicology; occupational toxicology; health extension package; food microbiology; food borne diseases; physical and chemical food analysis; food preservation; food spoilage and adulteration; food  protection.

  •  Occupational health and safety

Safety in the work place; work related health problems; injury accident; patient safety; organizations health and safety culture; economic cost of health and safety; motion sickness; occupational diseases; work design; system design; office ergonomics; computer ergonomics; noise; thermal effect; vibration assessment; product design ergonomics; stress.

  • Environmental pollution and vector control

Indoor air pollution; indicator for pollution; climate change; green house gas effect; acidification; sustainable energy resources; air quality monitoring; pollution management; health effect of environmental pollution; GIS and mapping; vector control methods; vector epidemiology in Ethiopia; chemical resistance of vectors

  • Other public health issues

Drug abuse; magnitude of substance abuse; factors related to substance abuse; consequences of substance abuse; health effect of substance abuse.

Our Partners and Collaborators

Our Department works with a range of national and international governmental and non- governmental organizations. Current collaborators include:

  • Rhodes University, South Africa – regarding an environmental learning research center.
  • Tarleton State University, USA – regarding water quality, research and community service.
  • Amhara National Regional State Health Bureau – regarding hygiene and sanitation office
  • World Vision Ethiopia – research of work place hazard identification in child labor.
  • Dashen Brewery – establishing health and safety system.
  • Leicester University, UK – Welcome Trust research on patient safety.