More officials needed in the environmental health sector – GEHOA

By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA

Cape Coast, Aug.
15, GNA – Ghana Environmental Health Officers Association (GEHOA) has called
for the establishment of an Environmental Sanitation and Preventive Health
Agency to help improve the sector.

This, they said,
would rationalise institutional objectives and outlined responsibilities at all
levels.

The Association is
also calling for the creation of an environmental regulatory council to
regulate standards of service and ensure standards of study and training in
recognized institutions as well as maintaining and monitoring sanitation
facilities.

Mr. Charles
Bosomprah, President of GEHOA, who made the request at 7th National Delegates
Congress of the Association, said the impact and effectiveness of environmental
health profession was not felt because they were not enough in the system.

The Congress which
was on the theme: “The role of the environmental Health professionals in
attaining the sustainable Development Goals” was attended by delegates from the
216 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.

He said there is
the need for an urgent action based on clear national strategy, policies, plans
and programmes supported by sustainable financing as the nation strived to
achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Currently,
Environmental Health Professionals (EHP) in Ghana is 3,400, and a ratio of 1
EHP to 7,900 Ghanaians, and this he said, was woefully inadequate for a country
with a population of a little over 27 million.

According to the
World Health Organisation, the ratio of an Environmental Health Professional
(EHP) to a country’s population must be one EHP to 700 people.

Mr Bosomprah
appealed to the Government to recruit more environmental Health Professionals
to meet at least one third of the WHO standard proportion of EHP to the
population.

Mr George Kweku
Ricketts-Hagan, Central Regional Minister noted that environmental and
sanitation issues were the biggest challenge facing the nation and called for
an attitudenal change towards the indiscriminate disposal of waste.

He said even though
Government was constrained in terms of financial resources, it would continue
to work with developmental partners to help improve sanitation in the country.

Mr Ricketts-Hagan
said to achieve the SDGs, Government had put in place out various plans and strategies
which included the National Environmental Sanitation Policy and the Strategic
Environmental Sanitation Investment Plan which has been approved by cabinet and
currently before parliament for approval.

He commended the
environmental health officers, private sector providers and the media for their
enthusiasm and contribution during the National Sanitation Day (NSD) campaigns.

Dr Samuel Fosu
Gyasi, Sanitation and Infectious Diseases Expert at the University of Energy
and Natural Resource said, there was the need for an inclusive and concerted
effort towards achieving the SDGS and securing a resilient future.

He urged the
environmental health officers to discharge their duties diligently as they were
the first line of defence for most tropical diseases including malaria,
cholera, and other epidemics.

Environmental
health officers must conduct investigations into incidents that affect health
and act as professional advisors, educators and law enforcers on environmental
health concerns.

Osabarima Kwesi
Atta II, Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area, said though the environment played
a crucial role in the health of every nation, issues of sanitation was being
taken lightly by many Ghanaians.

He expressed worry
over the level of pollution and insanitary conditions in the country and called
on the environmental health officers to intensify the education for the
citizenry to appreciate the need to keep the environment clean.

GNA

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