For three hours, university teachers discussed with each other and with the experts in the audience the conditions under which core elements of Sustainable Development Goal 8, Decent Work and Sustainable Economic Development, can be integrated into University Education Programmes. This involved curricular, didactic and institutional questions. The aim of this discussion was to find out what is necessary to enable future experts in occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, occupational safety but also public health to improve working conditions in their country and promote sustainable economic development, taking into account climate change, growing social inequality, rapid technological change and associated health risks.
Prof em. Johannes Siegrist, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, chair of the event, briefly introduced the results of a study on the state of integration of SDG 8 in study programmes of the above disciplines in Europe. Thanks to Prof Lotta Dellve from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, this study could be placed in the larger context of the work of the SDG 8 Cluster at the University of Gothenburg of the International Association of Universities (IAU). Five Satellite Universities from Africa are represented in this cluster. Prof Dingani Moyo, National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe, painted a vivid picture of the development of the professions of occupational health and safety in Southern Africa. Working conditions, which are largely characterised by informal forms of work, are contrasted by a dynamic professionalisation in these disciplines, led by Universities of Excellence not only in South Africa. Prof Dr. Ing. Rudolf Schumachers from the Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kleve, Germany, surprised the audience with an interdisciplinary and practice-oriented quality course of study for the training of occupational hygienists, whose modular structure met with great interest. Esther Buregyeya, associated professor at the world-famous Makerere University in Uganda and One Health Champion, managed to build a convincing bridge from occupational safety and health to general health issues in the context of SDG 8.
Finally, the European and African perspectives on SDG 8 were recapitulated and the question was asked how the African perspective can promote sustainability in OSH.
Overall, the event exceeded its self-imposed goal of stimulating an exchange among OSH experts from the two continents. At the end, it was clear and palpable that there will be further cooperation not only among the invited experts, but also involving some of the participants.
The event was moderated by Ehi Iden, OSHAfrica and Dr Ulrike Bollmann, ENETOSH.