Photo: Muhammad Abubakar, Environment Minister
The Federal Ministry of Environment has assured environmental health professionals of government’s support to their various efforts and laudable initiatives and innovations towards improving societal healthcare.
Dr Muhammad Abubakar, Minister of Environment, gave the assurance on Thursday during the 1st national summit on environmental health held in Abuja.
The summit has as its theme, “Rebranding environmental health practice: breaking barriers, unlocking opportunities.’’
The summit was organised by the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) during which over 3,000 news practitioners were inducted.
Abubakar said the ministry would continue to support the laudable initiatives of the council with the view to providing adequate enablement for effective and efficient environmental health practice.
He stated that the relevance of the profession in controlling communicable and contagious diseases could not be overemphasized and would be improved upon for a healthy society.
The minister also charged the newly inducted practitioners to contribute their quota in nation building by practicing within the confines of their professional ethics.
Dr Yakubu Baba, Registrar, EHORECON, in his remarks, said the summit brought environmental health experts together to identify the profession’s strength, challenges and prospects.
Baba noted that the practice of the profession currently was disjointed with some components domiciled in the ministry of health, environment and water resources.
He emphasized the need for them to be integrated to create significant impact to the society’s health.
“We will discuss to have a unified structure that will allow mobility of our personnel from one ministry to another, one department to another.
“The summit will enable us discuss and come up with a unified structure on where and how environmental health services will be rendered to Nigerians. We will also look at the policies and guidelines and legislations that require amendment and enacting.
“The environmental health officers are using an instrument that gives them power while on duty to enter any premise without a warrant for the purpose of inspection.
“ We want to address the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians who are calling for the reintroduction of sanitary inspection as well as consolidate our manpower and services so that people can see what we are seeing.
Prof. Agwu Amadi of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said the call for the reintroduction of sanitary health officers into the field was a welcome development.
According to him, “if we get it correctly from environmental services, we would reduce illness and deaths and also economic burden,” adding that environment health was public wealth and public wealth was wellness.
“It is important for us to achieve environmental health. The call by Nigerians for the reintroduction of sanitary officers in the field is a welcome development. These officers can find out the situation of environmental health,’’ he said.
The minister inaugurated the environmental health practice programme to ensure that the professional practice is done in accordance with the law.
He also inaugurated the environmental health emergency response volunteer scheme, aimed at bridging the gap of environmental health manpower distribution across the country, and unveiled the digital-based service delivery portal, aimed at digitizing the processes of transacting business between EHORECON and its clients.