ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (EHOAN)
KEBBI STATE CHAPTER
SUBMISSIONS/REQUESTS FORWARDED TO THE HONOURABLE SPEAKER OF KEBBI STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
RT. HONOURABLE, ALHAJI SAMA’ILA ABDULMUMINI KAMBA
FOR CONSIDERATIONS AND LEGISLATIVE BACKING/SUPPORT
FRIDAY 8TH JANUARY 2016
Environmental Health (EH) is the major aspect of Preventive Medicine which is also one of the four components of Health Care.
Environmental Health as a Health Science and un-dispensable Health service, ensures the Control and Prevention of all aspects, issues, challenges and problems that affect human Health either directly or indirectly. These includes communicable and non-communicable diseases, Air quality and safety, Food hygiene and safety, Water quality and safety, Meat safety (including sales and storage), Pollution control, Hospital waste management including control of spread of infectious diseases, Building regulation and safety, Control and regulation of International Voyage, Waste management (Solid, Liquid and Gaseous wastes) among others.
The World Health Organization ,(WHO) has defined Environmental Health as the control of all aspects of the man’s Physical Environment, which exercise or may exercise a deleterious effect on the Physical development health or survival.
Environmental Health had enjoyed tangible presence in the scheme of affairs in Nigeria since the time of colonial masters. After Independence, Public Health Laws (which are the legal tool for Environmental Health) were promulgated and made a component of the Nigerian Constitution and domesticated in different State Laws including Kebbi State till date. It is noteworthy that Environmental Health had suffered allot of setbacks since the departure of Colonial masters and was not given its due privileges which adversely affected the performance of the professionals in the field and consequently leading to high rate of Morbidity (Sickness and Diseases) and Mortality (Deaths) from preventable diseases. These challenges made our Hospitals overloaded with patients and made Health care budgets cumbersome to the Government and the general public.
RELEVANCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICERS IN KEBBI STATE
Environmental Health Officers are an essential component of the Health system and other health related programs.
Presently, Environmental Health Officers are in employment of the Local Government Service mostly serving under Primary Health Care Department. Similarly, the Officers are spread across the MDA’s of the State Government Service such as, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Lands and Housing and their agencies
SITUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH IN KEBBI STATE
Environmental Health and its professionals are facing allot of challenges in all ramifications. Some of the prominent problems are as follows:
1. Shortage of manpower, especially at the State civil service level. Many professionals have retired while large number are due to retire between the year 2016-2018, with no middle cadre officers to replace them.
2. Lack of Waste management system. This can be confirmed by lack of Waste collection vehicles across all the 21 LGAs and the state capital.
3. Lack of Designated final disposal sites of solid wastes across the state.
4. Lack of Sanitary Meat conveyance vehicles in all the LGA’s of the state.
5. Lack of Sanitation coordination body, such as Environmental Sanitation Board and Environmental Health Departments at LGA Level.
6. Non-existence of Environmental Health unit in our Hospitals to ensure compliance with Clinical Waste Management procedures and guidelines.
7. In-effective and partial School Health program. The scenario at Kanta College Argungu is a yardstick.
8. Lack of political will to preventive health services by previous administrations and shift of health care focus to curative services.
PROSPECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT
Environmental Health has allot of potentials of being a Job creator, Revenue generator and Impact maker especially in change agenda of the present 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 zone. This will address the issue of heaps of refuse spread in our major towns and Villages, Produce organic manure to be sold to farmers and create jobs.
2. Review and enforcement of Health permit charges 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 sound and make an Environmental Health Act for the State.
2. Make an Act for the Creation of Environmental Sanitation Board/Agency. This will address 85% of administrative inefficiencies on Sanitation matters.
3. Facilitate the establishment/creation of Environmental Health Department at LGA level. The Department is already existing at State level. Also many States in the Federation are having Environmental Health Department in their LGAs.
4. Enforcement of the provision of Waste Collection Vans and Meat conveyance vehicles by the LGAs
5. Making an Act for the Emergency recruitment of Environmental Health Officers to fill the huge vacancies created by the Death and retirement of serving officers.
6. Enforcement of “National Injection safety and Health Care Waste management” policy (2007) in all health Institutions. This will ensure creation of E.H. Department and ensure effective Clinical waste management.
7. Review School Health service policy and make an Act to that effect that will ensure recruitment and deployment of Environmental Health Officers to all Secondary Schools for effective disease prevention and control.
8. Facilitate the creation of Composting and waste recycling centers across the state for its overall benefits as mentioned above.