I am delighted and privileged to welcome you to the 45th National conference and scientific workshop of the Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN).
Occasions like this are avenues provide to reflect over and also to appraise developments that have taken place in or related to the profession since the last conference in a congress like this. So far so good we are moving and we are making progress. However, that is not to say that we are free from challenges. We continue to relate with every stakeholder to ensuring the steady progress and positive developments in Environmental Health practice in Nigeria.
Government both at the state’s and local Government levels continue to be the highest employers of Environmental Health Officers, the federal and some state governments need much to do in the employment sector. It is our vision that the private sector will in no distant time spring up to compete with government agencies in the employment of EHOs for the good of our preventive health sector. Since the last conference certain positive things have happened and wish to report as follow:
FEDERATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS OF WEST AFRICA
During the 2011 conference in Umuahia, we reported a proposed Association meeting of the federation of Environmental Health Professionals in West to hold in Lagos. I am glad to inform you that the meeting was held between 27th and 28th of December 2011 at the City Hotel in Agege Lagos. Five Member states of ECOWAS including Nigeria were in attendance. The other countries were Ghana, Gambia, Benin Republic, and Togo. The meeting ratified a draft constitution in English and a French version for the Association. Zakariya’u Aliyu; the National President of EHOAN in Nigeria was elected as the interim President General; Raphael Marfo of Ghana Ports Authority, the General Secretary and other officers coming from Togo, Gambia and Benin Republic. The main objectives of the Association are:
i. To bring together in harmony and unity all Environmental Health Professionals from among the region in the employment of either governmental or non-governmental organizations or the organized private sector.
ii. To promote, and foster the interest of its members through advocacy, linkages and interactions using available means of communications, protocols, Charters and partnerships.
iii. To establish means of communication among members for the promotion of exchange of views, ideas, concepts, discoveries and best practices in Environmental health and public health services in the region.
iv. To publish a newsletter, magazine, or any other means of information and disseminate same in the interest of its members and the general public.
v. To encourage research on matters affecting environmental/public health and to make such findings available to relevant stakeholders for the purpose of strategic planning, policy formulation and legislation in the region.
vi. To advance the education, training and professional excellence of its members and employees and establish a reward system in the award of fellowships, scholarships, certificates, medals and prizes.
vii. To co-operate with other Associations and Institutions of like interest and objectives within and outside West Africa and to perform all lawful acts for the attainment of the objectives of the Federation.
viii. To advise governments of ECOWAS member states on issues of interest to environmental health.
ix. To support in addressing other environmental health emergencies as may arise.
I am also glad to announce to you the presence of some professional members from Ecowas states and other officials of the federation in this year’s conference. This also gives us the opportunity to hold the annual meeting of the federation. We heartily welcome participants from other sister ECOWAS states to Nigeria.
NATIONAL SECRETARIAT OF EHOAN
It is pleasing to also report that our Association has secured an office accommodation in Abuja, which shall henceforth serve as the National secretariat of EHOAN. The office is located at Wuse 3 Abuja. The secretariat is in the process of employing a qualified EHO/EHT as the administrative officer of the secretariat. Three qualified applicants have been shortlisted already for employment before the end of the month of November.
NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA (NOUN) B.Sc. PROGRAMME
Preparations are at advanced stage to commence the B.Sc. degree program in Environmental Health at the National Open University of Nigeria. Indeed, the senate of the University has approved the programme and the draft course modules have been prepared awaiting experts review before advertisement. It is our hope that the course will take off by the 1st quarter of 2013.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CONTROL BILL 2010
You may be aware of the public hearing that has taken place last September at the House of Representatives in respect of this our bill. The Association was fully represented and the hearing was a huge success. We still await the final outcome from the House before it goes to the senate. However, we are confident very confident that in the 2013 conference we shall be presenting to you a signed Environmental Health Control Act; 2013.
FLOOD AND RESPONSE TO EMERGENCY SITUATIONS
Our Association regrets the loss of lives and property during the last flood disasters in many state of Nigeria, notably; Kogi, Bayelsa, Delta, Benue and Adamawa states. However, the response to these and similar events leaves much to be desired as far as the coordination and involvement of Environmental Health Officers are concerned. We urge that the National Emergency Management Agency and the states version to always carry EHOs along in the planning and intervention activities especially having to do with the control of communicable diseases, management of temporary settlement conditions, safety of drinking water, provision of toilets, hygiene education, etc.
THE THEME FOR 2012 CONFERENCE
The theme for this year’s conference is ‘ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH – THE KEY TO PRIMARY HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SERVICES.’ This theme is in recognition of the important role Environmental health plays in the global and national initiatives to mitigating diseases burden through cost-effective approach. It is our hope that the lessons to be learnt are going to add value to our individual and collective efforts in the implementation of Primary Health Care and control of communicable diseases.
Before I end this address, I will like to specially appreciate the government and people of the state of Osun state for the warm reception of our guests in Oshogbo. Special appreciation goes to the state Governor- Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola for honouring our invitation and also the good things he is doing in this sector since assumption of office. We pledge to continue the cooperation with your administration to better the condition of living of the people of this state.
Finally, I want to thank you all for listening and God bless.
Sanitarian Zakariyau Aliyu; M.Sc; fseh
National president (EHOAN)