The re-emergence of Environmental Health Science and Profession in the ECOWAS region predicate upon the effort of the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) in organising the harmonization curriculum of Allied Health Professions in West Africa prior to which the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) through UNICEF funding developed curriculum for Environmental Health and Safety degree program in Nigeria.
This development has led to one of the impactful areas of community development in contributing to over eighty (80) community latrine as objective by WHO Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) -Open Defecation Eradication drive, a major accomplishment of one of the institution in Nigeria making a contribution toward this effort. This measure though little is impactful in reducing Open defecation and improving health status of our rural citizen.
The overarching goal of the international conference is to enhance and reposition the Environmental Health profession in order to address broad range of issues confronting the West Africa regions and members stated both nationally and at local constituencies such that NEVER AGAIN SHOULD EBOLA RESURGE, LASAR FEVER MUST BE ERADICATED, MALARIA INCIDENCE BE DRASTICALLY REDUCED ETC.
The challenges confronting Environmental Health profession today are hereby highlighted;
• Building Capacity
• Research development
• Fostering Leadership
• Communication and marketing
• Workforce development
• Strategic partnership
a. Expand the nation and regional capacity to anticipate, recognize and respond to
Environmental health threats and to improve access to technology
b. Support, evaluate, and disseminate the results of new research programs, best
Practices, and EHORECON, WAHO supported projects design to improve livability and to prevent and control environmental related illness
c. Identify the broad range of activities, interventions and resources available for
Delivering environmental health programs in West Africa, Nigeria, State and Local government, and maintain a continuous assessment process
a. Identify environmental antecedents to all disease related outbreaks
b. Engage community support for community-based environmental health research
c. Synthesize and disseminate relevant research findings on the environmental health Services
d. Implement environmental health services programs and evaluations in the built and natural environment that leads to healthier communities
Provide guidance, training, and assistance to regional, nations, states, local government and other stakeholders to specifically build and enhance leadership capability among regional authorities, nation council and associations and local government agencies
Communication and Marketing
a. Identify and promote community-based strategies to elevate the image, importance, and need to improve environmental health services.
b. Support educational approaches and models of best practices to gain community support and participation in addressing environmental health service issues, concerns, and best models to organize, deliver, and market environmental health services
Coordinate and promote activities that identify critical stakeholders, and foster communication and interaction among agencies, organizations, and interest groups that influence environmental health services
The WAHO, EHORECON, Institution of learning and the policy makers needs strong commitment to drive pro-active commitment to preventive health policy in other to accomplish sustainable health delivery service desiring of the 21st century.
· Dr. Henry O. Sawyerr is the Dean, School of Environmental Studies, Kwara State University.