Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The relevance of EHO in Hajj medical team

By Sani Garba Mohammed

Environmental health is the control, in totality, of all factors in man’s physical environment which exercise or may exercise a deleterious effect on his physical development, health and survival. It plays a vital role in control of communicable diseases, potable water supply, food sanitation and personal hygiene. It is multi-sectoral, meaning it has to do with every aspect of man-environment relationship.

For many years, Nigeria has had medical team [comprising only doctors, nurses, and pharmacist] in hajj operations, who take care of the medical needs of the pilgrims. However, their involvement was not formalized untill recently.
The relevance of EHO starts from the training of intending pilgrims at local and state levels, hajj camps, airports on how to observe personal cleanliness, how to clean their environment, healthy eating, proper utilization of sanitary conveniences and facilities, how to prevent common illnesses due to change of environment, also how to prevent motion sickness, and many others.

Environmental Health officers [EHO] are preventive health officers in the field of healthcare development and promotion, prevention and control of diseases; as such, their relevance cannot be overemphasized while in the holy land. Here are few of their roles;

Many pilgrims are new to the holy land, and coming mostly from villages, their knowledge ofpersonal hygiene and how to disposed off waste products to the appropriate place is small; many pilgrims are ignorance of the basic principle of environmental sanitation, they behave anyway they like in littering the environment, hence, they need proper education by registered and license EHO, to sensitize and guide them on how not to abuse environment in the holy land.

Food sanitation: food is one of the basic and indispensable necessities of life, ranking equal in importance with only air and water. Even though Saudi government and some states governments do provide food to pilgrims, yet Nigerians like to patronize the food prepared by Nigerians in the Diaspora better known as ‘takari’ which, according to them, is more tasty and delicious. In this case, EHO would go round the various spots and tents where these foods are prepared to educate the food handlers on the guidelines and procedure they will adhere to from the stage of preparation to the point of sale to the pilgrims, in such a way the food be free from obvious and visible dirt, and from gross microbial, chemical or biological contaminants.

These ‘takari’ are in the habit of getting stale food due for disposal, re-heat it, package it, and offer it for sale to unsuspecting pilgrims, which is contaminated, and therefore unfit for human consumption. EHO, must be vigilant, active and a barrier between ‘Takari’, and the pilgrims, to make sure food offer for sale to the latter is wholesome.

Public health inspection: house to house inspection of pilgrims to sensitize and educate them on cleanliness of their rooms, sanitary conveniences, and proper & appropriate utilization of sanitary facilities provided, to ensure clean and free offensive odour environment.

Diseases control: majority of the disease affecting the pilgrims are preventable, for instance, diarrhea, food poisoning, some allergies, dysentery, etc., are associated with either change in dietary habit, poor personal hygiene, or non-adherence to precautions, and environmental influence. So, regular inspection and educating the pilgrims on how to protect their health, will address 70% of health needs of Nigerian pilgrims.

These and many more are are the good things the EHOs can do.
Based on these, the federal government must make sure only registered and licensed EHOs, adequate in number, are given the chance to participate in rendering their services in the holy land as part of hajj medical teams. States government must be made to be include registered EHO in their medical team, so that their impact can be seen, as doctors, pharmacist and nurses have fewer roles to play than EHO in educating the pilgrims on the do’s and don’ts of prevention, which is better than cure, the are ubiquitous length, not staying in clinics to do their work.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


By Mensah ISAAC

It was excitement all the way as National Association of Environmental Health Students of Nigeria (NAEHSN), College of Health Technology (COTECH),Calabar, Cross River state, Nigeria Chapter held orientation/induction ceremony for her 2011/2012 academic session admitted Students. The event held recently at the department's lecture hall 3 witnessed myriads of activities.

In his opening remark,the Head of Department, Environment health, represented by Sanitarian Eyo Essien bid welcome to intakes, saying that the department has the requisite lecturers to train students capable of competiting favorably with contemporaries in other institutions. He urged students to work hard in order to graduate with fly colours.

Giving an Introduction of the department, lecturer, Mrs Christiana Unoh remarked that Environment Health deals with control of factors hazardous to man's immediate or remote environment and capable of affecting man's physically, mental, social, and economic development negatively. She disclosed that Environmental Health Officers are Environmental police stressing that they have the authority to enforce laws bordering on environmental sanitation by way of instituting a legal action against defaulters of environmental laws, and stop activities injurious to man's health.

She outlined Waste management, control/monitoring of pollution media (air,land and water),environmental impact assessment among others as components of Environmental Health. On his part, Cross River State chapter President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria(EHOAN), Sanitarian Major Major Elijah, noted that the department has two(2) regulatory professional bodies: Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria(EHORECON), and EHOAN.

EHORECON is concerned with issuing practicing license to certified Environmental Health Officers as well metes out sanctions on erring members while EHOAN embodies all Environmental Health practitioners in Nigeria. Earlier, Mr Elijah Ivi said that the departments dressing code of catton colour trouser, white shirt,blue tie,epulet, brown shoe and brown belt. Moreso that students with four (4) failed courses automatically repeats a year instead of resitting same exams, hence the need to be academically focused.

While inducting the intakes into the membership of the students' association (NAEHSN),Barr.Emmanuel Eyo challenged students to obey constituted authorities as well as the abiding principles of the department. He charged them to shun all forms of social vices such as Cultism, examination-malpractices etc. CAMPUSLIFE gathered that the intakes were given a tour round the institution's community to familiarized them with some strategic buildings of the institution. They were also taken to OLD Residence museum where they were taught on the history of Calabar and slave trade in Africa.

In a chat with CAMPUSLIFE, the president, NAEHSN, Onu Sabastine Eke informed that, “the programme was part of the association's official annual obligation. This year's was spectacular because about 115 students were admitted to study Environmental Health in College of Health Technology, Calabar, Cross-River state' Reacting, a freshman, Francis Henshaw said the orientation exercise was indeed a eye-opener to profession's ethics, bodies, etc. He promised to justify his studentship status by putting all what he learnt in the exercise to practice.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

World Environmental Health Day

International Federation of Environmental Health London, England, United Kingdom

A Proclamation
To All These Presents Shall Come – Greetings
Whereas The Board of Directors of the International Federation of Environmental Health declare that 26 September 2011 be celebrated as World Environmental Health Day, and,

Whereas World Environmental Health Day recognizes the dedication and work of environmental health professionals, environmental health educators, researchers and students around the world, and,

Whereas the services provided by environmental health professionals heightens the visibility of environmental health professionals to the general public, the public sector, the not-for-profit sector, and the business community and,

Whereas the core services performed by environmental health professionals are essential elements in “caring for the environment in the interest of world health”, in building healthy populations, including food safety and sanitation, water quality (drinking and recreational), air quality (indoor and outdoor), community sanitation and environmental health, communicable disease control, tobacco control, vector management, emergency management and disaster preparedness, and,

Whereas the General Council of the International Federation of Environmental Health has agreed to the proclamation of World Environmental Health Day, with consent of the Board of Directors and also to host the Inaugural Environmental Health Youth Summit in Bali, Indonesia;

Now Know Ye That We do by these present proclaim and declare September 26, 2011 to be known as ‘World Environmental Health Day’ within the international environmental health community.

In testimony thereof we attach the logo and crest of the International Federation of Environmental Health.

Witness the Board of Directors of the International Federation of Environmental Health this 26 TH day of September 2011,

In Command.

Robert W Bradbury, President Peter Davey, President-Elect

Raymond Ellard, Honorary Secretary Stephen Cooper, Honorary

International Federation of Environmental Health

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Degree program in environmental health

For those Seeking an admission to have a degree in Environmental Health in Nigeria, another opportunity has come at Kwara State University. The university is offering the course from 2011/2012 session. For more information,please visit their website.