ASSOCIATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICERS OF NIGERIA (EHOAN)
KEBBI STATE CHAPTER
MEANS / REQUESTS FORWARDED TO THE HONORABLE SPEAKER OF THE KEBBI STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLEA
RT. OF HONOR, ALHAJI SAMA’ILA ABDULMUMINI KAMBA
FOR CONSIDERATIONS AND SUPPORT / LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT
FRIDAY 8NS JANUARY 2016
Environmental health (EH) is the main aspect of preventive medicine which is also one of the four components of health care.
Environmental health as a science of health and an essential health service, guarantees the control and prevention of all aspects, problems, challenges and problems that directly or indirectly affect human health. These include communicable and non-communicable diseases, air quality and safety, food hygiene and safety, water quality and safety, meat safety (including sale and storage), pollution control, Hospital waste management including controlling the spread of infectious diseases, building regulation and safety, international travel control and regulation, waste management (solid, liquid and gaseous waste) among others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined Environmental Health as the control of all aspects of the physical environment of man, which have or can have a deleterious effect on physical development, health or survival.
Environmental health had enjoyed a tangible presence in the business pattern in Nigeria since the days of the colonial masters. After independence, public health laws (which are the legal instrument for environmental health) were enacted and made an integral part of the Nigerian Constitution and tamed in several state laws including Kebbi state to date. It is interesting to note that environmental health has suffered many setbacks since the departure of the colonial masters and was not given the due privileges which negatively impacted the performance of professionals in the sector and consequently led to a high rate of morbidity ( diseases and illnesses) and mortality (Deaths) from preventable diseases. These challenges have made our hospitals overloaded with patients and cumbersome healthcare budgets for the government and the general public.
RELEVANCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH MANAGERS IN THE STATE OF KEBBI
Environmental health managers are an essential component of the health system and other health-related programs.
Currently, environmental health officials are employed by the local government service serving primarily within the primary health care department. Likewise, officials are distributed among the MDAs of the state government service such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Land and Housing and their agencies.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SITUATION IN THE STATE OF KEBBI
Environmental Health and its professionals are facing many challenges in all ramifications. Some of the main problems are as follows:
1. Shortage of manpower, especially at the state civil service level. Many professionals have retired while a large number are expected to retire between the year 2016-2018, with no middle management officials to replace them.
2. Lack of a waste management system This can be confirmed by the lack of refuse collection vehicles in all 21 LGAs and in the state capital.
3. Lack of designated sites for final disposal of solid waste throughout the state.
4th Lack of vehicles for the transportation of sanitary meats in all LGAs in the state.
5. Lack of coordinating hygiene bodies, such as the Environmental Sanitation Board and LGA-level environmental health departments.
6th Non-existence of environmental health units in our hospitals to ensure compliance with clinical waste management procedures and guidelines.
7th Ineffective and partial school health program. The scenery at Kanta College Argungu is a yardstick.
8th. Lack of political will towards preventive health services by previous administrations and a shift from attention to health care to curative services.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE
Environmental health has a lot of potential to be a job creator, a revenue generator and an impact creator especially in modify agenda of the current administration.
Some of the environmental health driven areas that can be exploited are as follows:
1. Establishment of composting centers, at least one per Emirate / Senatorial area. This will tackle the problem of litter piles in our major towns and villages, produce organic fertilizer to sell to farmers, and create jobs.
2. Review and application of health authorization rights for commercial premises and industries.
PRAYERS / REQUESTS FOR LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT
The Kebbi State House of Assembly may make acts and other legislative backups on the following:
1. Review existing obsolete environmental / public health laws to make them modern and robust and create an environmental health law for the state.
2. Make a law for the creation of an environmental hygiene council / agency. This will solve 85% of administrative inefficiencies in hygiene matters.
3. Facilitate the establishment / creation of the Department of Environmental Health at the LGA level. The Department already exists at the state level. Many Federation states also have the Department of Environmental Health in their LGAs.
4th Application of the supply of Refuse Collection Vans and Meat Transport Vehicles by LGAs
5. Make a law for the emergency recruitment of environmental health officials to fill the huge vacancies created by the death and retirement of serving officers.
6th Implementation of the “National Injection safety and Health Care Waste management” policy (2007) in all health institutions. This will ensure the creation of the EH Department and ensure effective clinical waste management.
7th Review the school health service policy and make a law to that effect which will ensure the recruitment and employment of environmental health officials in all secondary schools for effective disease prevention and control.
8th. Facilitate the establishment of statewide composting and recycling centers for its overall benefits as mentioned above.