By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
With so many environmental health challenges in nigeria ranging from water pollution,Industrial waste,Solid waste,Oil spill,communicable diseases such as Lassa fever and coronavirus the recently launched of Environmental Health Practice and Standards Monitoring Committee (EHPSMC) regulating guideline has come at the right time.
Environmental Health is one of the foremost Professions in Nigeria with the principal objective of protecting public Health by ensuring safer, cleaner and greener environment.
The good health of Nigerians lie solely on these practitioners, Environmental Health Officers, but the services is becoming more difficulty day by day.
But with the new environmental law , this would go a long way to give more leverage to the environmental health practitioners to monitor, address quacks and checkmate the environmental activities of the public.
The regulatory guideline tools would promote environmental health practices in Nigeria including global standard.
Peoples Daily recalled that the Buhari’s administration in 2016 launched the reviewed National Environmental Health Practice Regulations after nine years of its existence.
Since the beginning of this administration, priority has been given to development of Environmental health in the country through different intervention by the Federal Government.
Unveiling the document at the public presentation in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar said the event marks another mile stone in the history of Environmental Health Practice in Nigeria.
Dr. Abubakar who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr. Bakari Wadinga stated that “the document we are presenting today is one instrument that will promote the operations of the Council for efficient and effective service delivery,even though it is long overdue.
“To give credence to the enabling law of establishing the Council, it had been observed that government need to strengthening the enforcement area of at service delivery points across the nation.
“However, since the inauguration of Monitoring Committee in 2012, the instrument of operation was confronted with so many challenges that incidentally affected the operation of the Committee.
He said we are gathered here today to witness the presentation of the enforcement guidelines.
According to him,”this guideline is a tool to provide road map for environmental health practice and standards monitoring committee which would also help members in discharging their responsibilities.
The minister reiterated that“the introduction of the document would contributed in no small measure to improve the Environmental Health services among Nigeria populace.
“The document has set out procedures of operations, reporting format as well as all other requirements, necessary for the attainment also setting goals and objectives to ensure regulations of the Council compliance with laid down rules.
“I wish to state emphatically at this juncture that Nigeria has come of age, we must not lag behind in global best practice for environmental health with the current global challenges of emerging and rè-emerging diseases like Lassa Fever and coronavirus”.
He warned defaulters of the Council’s enforcement procedures to buckle up as the Council will go all out to see that practitioners at Federal, State, Local Government including Private Sectors abide by the rules of the profession.
He said, “the Monitoring Committee is at liberty to visit any Environmental Health Service Delivery point with or without notice and take appropriate action as contained in the guidelines. Therefore, practitioners are enjoined to conduct themselves in more professional manner and be guided by the ethical consideration.
“To the quacks operating at all levels, it will no longer be business as usual. all steceholder at the He also solicited the cooperation of State, Local Government, and Private Sector, including stakeholders in the implementation of the guidelines.
“The provision of modern practice equipment, utility vehicles and improvement of working environment at Service Delivery Point will automatically boost the morale of Environmental Health Practitioners, which is pivotal to taming, the environment.
He said, as part of the Next Level agenda, the administration is committed to better the lives of every Nigerian by ensuring that, unfavourable health indices hitherto known with the Country will be a thing of the past.
“As government is committed to improving the state of the environment because most of the disease burden of the country hinges on low standards of our porving environment.
Earlier, In his welcome address,the Registrar of Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON), represented by Head of Department Training and Education EHORECON, Dr. Baba Yakubu Mohammed said that the guidelines are structured by setting the goals and objectives of the Committee and it has spelt out the operational procedure, defining the road map for Environmental Health.
He reiterated that the Council has created a platform to coordinate the containment strategy of Corona Virus (CONVID-19) in line with the Honourable Minister of Environment directives.
He reaffirmed that the Council environmental work force is very ready at any point.
“We are having more than 35,000 work force that’s why the Ministry organized this event in order to strengthen Nigerian’s health populations”,Yubuku emphasized .
He used the occasion to called on the committee to look at the guideline and ahead strickly to the code and the ethics as applicable to the guideline.
Meanwhile, speaking in his presentation the National President Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria ,Dr. Samuel Akinghehin, said no profession can practice effectively and efficiently without an enabling law.
He said there is need to enact laws that will regulate the Environmental Health Practice in Nigeria.
The law has since been in place as far back as 2002 but due to the dynamics of our growing society the need to review the existing laws tomeet the needs of the contemporary society becomes necessary and indispensable and also to meet up with global standard.
“Our presence here today is majorly to intimate the practitioners of these laws and disseminate same to them for implementation in the day to day practice of environmental Health, especially at these challenging times of our National
life where emergency and re-emerging communicable diseases are here”,Dr. Akinghehin said.
He stated the environmental health service has some challenges ranging from the inadequate funding,absence of equipment for Environmental Monitoring and Scientific tools
Others are gadget for monitoring various Environmental Media and lack of sanitation facilities such as compactor trucks, pay loaders, refuse vans, waste recycling plants, communal dust bins among many other challenges.
The president also pleaded with the minister of environment to look into the following,procurement of necessary equipment and sanitation facilities in order to improve the state of sanitation in the country.
“Adequate budgetary allocation of government to environmental Healths ervices and appoint a Professional Environmental Health officer as substantive registrar and speedy inauguration of the council”, he emphasised.