The Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) has appealed to the Federal Government to grant the Ministry of Environment approval to employ more environmental health officers.
Mr Dominic Abonyi, the Head, Registration, Ethics and Standards Enforcement of the council, made the call recently in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Abonyi said that the number of professionals to oversee environmental sanitation in Nigeria was grossly inadequate, adding that more hands would engender the prevention of diseases.
According to him, the employment of 490 Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) as approved by the Federal Government was not enough to cover national sanitation.
He stressed the need for more recruitment to be able to prevent the spread of Ebola and other endemic diseases.
“We are begging the relevant authorities to employ more Environmental Health Officers for the national environmental sanitary inspection.
“The Federal Government should grant the Federal Ministry of Environment approval to employ more EHOs officers to oversee national sanitation.
“EHOs in the Federal Ministry of Environment are very inadequate to cover our national population.
“We have a total of 7,000 EHOs to cover the population of over 170 million Nigerians, and this is actually against the WHO requirement of one EHO to 8,000 citizens.
“Even house-to-house sanitary inspection is predicated on the number of EHOs and with the available officers on ground, it will be difficult to control endemic diseases.’’
Abonyi also identified hospital waste as another source of the spread of the Ebola, advising the hospital management to manage their wastes within hospital premises.
“Hospital waste management is another source for contacting the Ebola disease and there is every need for the hospitals to isolate their wastes and manage it within.
“The management of hospital waste within the hospital premises will eliminate the sources of infection as anything that comes out of the hospital will be against the ethics of the Ebola control mechanism.”
Abonyi urged all relevant agencies handling the Ebola outbreak to be serious in the discharge of their duties.
He advised all hospitals that have up to 20 beds and above to employ EHOs, to enforce environmental health ethics in those hospitals. (NAN)