Friday, September 7, 2012

ENVIRONMEN​TAL HEALTH OFFICERS SEEK MORE ROLE

Enugu, Sept. 6, 2012

Environmental health officers in the country on Thursday called on the various tiers of governments to make effective use of their skills to eradicate diseases.


Addressing a workshop on pests and vectors management in environmental health practice in Enugu, the Registrar of the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council, Mr Augustine Ebisike, said the officers could eradicate 70 per cent of diseases in the country.


Ebisike said that rather than spend huge sums in carrying out some health programmes abroad, the governments should look inward and listen to professionals to eradicate such diseases.


``The issue of pests and vectors control has become a growing public health concern to us. Rodent population has exploded in many of our urban centres. Mosquitoes and other vermin population have equally exploded due to the emphasis on the use of bed nets instead of basic cleanliness.


``As environmental health officers, we believe these diseases can be better tackled and controlled by the use of preventive measures which are less expensive and sustainable rather than the use of medicines in a vicious circle of trying to control the diseases.
``When we tell people to be sleeping under bed nets instead of making sure that mosquitoes are not breeding around them, there will be no end to it. Instead of us to clear the wastes, we are being attacked by rats.


``Today some diseases that we only read in schools, some of us they didn’t teach us anything about lassa fever in school. Today, we cannot graduate as an environmental health officer without being grounded on how to prevent lassa fever.


``And if government cooperates with us, we are going to eradicate polio; not by the so-called every day immunisation, immunisation works but it should be a second line of defence. The first line of defence against polio is improved sanitation.’’
He called on Nigerians to stop engaging untrained persons to fumigate their offices, homes and business environments.


``If these services are required, Nigerians are advised to seek the services of licensed environmental health officers who can be found in all health offices across the country for guidance.’’


Earlier, the President of the Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria in Enugu State, Mr Patrick Esomchi, noted that the emerging environmental challenges in the country underscored the need for the workshop.


More than 300 environmental health officers, formerly called sanitary inspectors, from various parts of the country, are attending the two-day workshop.