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