Friday, July 31, 2015

The coming of Institute of Environmental Health and Justice

The dearth of Environmental Health Officers [aka Sanitarians] in the country is a source of great concern to a responsible leadership.
Nigeria is bedeviled with many environmentally based diseases like malaria, cholera, typhoid fever, and other environmental problems like environmental pollution, oil spillage, and others which can be prevented and control via effective utilization of environmental health practitioners at all level of governments, but this is not obtainable due to the emphasis on curative health services by our leaders, hence the state of our environmental health problems.

Also the number of adequate, qualified and employed environmental health practitioners in the country is nowhere near average, couple with fewer universities running environmental health program at undergraduate level.

These and many more makes the Federal University of Technology, Owerri [FUTO] establish the ‘Institute of Environmental Health and Justice’ [IEHJ] to fill the gap in manpower training and development of environmental health practitioners.

The philosophy of the institute is to provide a broad based research, professional training and competencies in Environmental Health and Justice that reflects the emphasis on current national policies and needs, with the vision of being pioneer institute in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region for training of skilled practitioners in Environmental Public Health and Justice.

The objectives of the institute are to run certificates, diploma, first degree, and higher degrees in environmental health and justice; mount special undergraduate programme for environmental health practitioner/officers and other community health care professional; provide technical and advisory service to government ministries, departments and agencies including industries in all areas of environmental health and justice in Nigeria and ECOWAS sub-region; promote effective and international collaborations in the planning of symposia, workshops, seminars including on the job training of environmental health practitioners and other  professionals in related fields in Nigeria and ECOWAS sub-region; acts as national and regional institute for the collection and dissemination of technical and scientific information and a focal point for environmental health and justice; promote and coordinate applied research relevant to environmental health and justice in line with national needs; provide environmental and public health laboratory services in accordance with national and international laws, regulations, guidelines, policies, etc.; and liaise with environmental advocates in promoting environmental justice.

To further close the gap of non-specialization, students of higher degrees may  choose any of the following areas of specialization, aviation hygiene and sea vessels sanitation; bioremediation and clean technology; environmental and radiation health protection; environmental epidemiology; environmental health laboratory and instrumentation; environmental health physics; environmental health safety and sanitation technology; environmental justice; environmental psychology; environmental toxicology; food hygiene, safety and quality assurance; pollution control management; population health; solid and special wastes management; and vector control and pest management.

IEHJ comes at the right time when environmental health practitioners in Nigeria needs vigorous training in various areas of specialization that will empower them to be more scientific in checkmating the environmental public health problems affecting the country which differ from one region to another, and take their rightful place in the scheme of health services in Nigeria.

The pioneer Director of the institute, Professor Sanitarian A. N. Amadi, an expert in environmental public health, is driving the institute to a greater height; we should all join hands and support him for the development of FUTO, and the nation at large.

Mohammed Sani Garba, New Hospital Road,Kano

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Professor Agwu Nkwa Amadi, B Sc., M. Sc., PhD

Born on the 1st May, 1965 in Okagwe Ohafia, Abia state. He had his early education at the Community Primary School Okagwe Ohafia 1972-1978 and the Boys’ Secondary School Asaga Ohafia 1978-1983; he subsequently attended the School of Health Technology Aba, 1985-1987 for a certificate in medical laboratory science.

By October 1987, he enrolled at the Anambra State University of Technology, Enugu for a degree programme in Parasitology & Entomology which he completed in 1991. By 1992 he secured admission to Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka for postgraduate studies, leadin to M.Sc. degree in Public health Parasitology in 1995. Soon he secured a teaching appointment with the Abia State University, Uturu, where he served as lecturer from 1996-2002.

Alongside his teaching appointment, Agwu Amadi found time to register for Ph.D research programme in Environmental Health Biology at Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He pursued his research work with diligence and commitment, and successfully completed the programme in 2001. Sequel to the high commendation of his work, and the resultant research publications, Dr Agwu Amadi was offered an appointment in 2002 as a lecturer I at the university. He started from the then department of biological sciences, where he participated actively in teaching several departmental and school courses; and serves also in several university committees. By 2005 he was duly appraised and promoted to the rank of senior lecturer in the School of Science.

With the commencement of the School of Health Technology [SOHT] however, Dr Agwu Amadi sought transfer to the new school in the 2004/2005 academic session. He therefore became one of the pioneer staff of the school. Among other things, he taught various departmental and school courses, and served severally as chairman SOHT committee on Student Industrial Working Experience Scheme [SIWES], chairman SOHT research grants committee, and member, SOHT postgraduate studies committee. Agwu Amadi was privileged to serve subsequently as Head of the Department of Public Health Technology, School of Health Technology from 2007-2009. In the course of this service he was elevated to the rank of Reader/Associate Professor in the year 2008; and was soon selected to co-ordinate a resourceful Environmental Health Training programme sponsored by the Environmental Health Officers registration Council of Nigeria.

A prolific research scholar, Agwu Nkwa Amadi has to his credit four published books and some three co-authored titles, plus about ninety research articles published in reputable local and international journals. He has also participated actively in numerous conferences and workshops locally and elsewhere. In addition, he successfully supervised scores of undergraduate and postgraduate students [including some M. Sc, M.P.H and PhD advisees] many of who have today blossomed into leading healthcare professional and active research scientists. Of course, Agwu Amadi himself is a duly registered professional sanitarian, certified by the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria [EHORECON].

In recognition of his qualification and experience, plus his consistent academic and professional contributions, Agwu Amadi was duly appraised in 2011 and promoted to the rank of full professor in the department of Public Health Technology, effective from October, 1, 2011. He has continued to contribute actively to the growth of the department, and the School of Health Technology, and was re-appointed Head of Department in 2012. He has served meritoriously in this position till date. In addition, Professor Agwu Amadi is one of the devoted research associates and adviser of the centre for Women, Gender and Development Studies [CWGDS].

Furthermore, Professor Agwu Nkwa Amadi, B. Sc [Hons], M.Sc. PhD;  a distinguish scholar, teacher and research scientist is a recognized Fellow, Society of Environmental Health, Fellow, Institute of Industial Administration, Fellow, Royal Society for Public Health and Member of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.  No wonder, he has remained an active consultant to various governmental and private sector agencies in this country; and to some well-meaning development partners such as UNICEF, UNDP, and West African Health Organization [WAHO], etc.

A practicing Christian and family man, Professor Agwu Amadi is happily married to Dr Mrs] Chinasa Amadi, an experienced graduate of Medical Laboratory Scientist, a Sanitarian and a lecturer also in the department of Public Health Technology. The marriage is blessed with three children namely, Chioma, 17; Chima, 14; and Mary, 13 respectively. The couples are actively involved in community health practice and various sanitation projects in the South Eastern states of Nigeria.