By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN) has pledged support towards efforts in curtailing spread of novel Covid-19.
National President of EHOAN, Dr Akingbehin Samuel, said this in an interview with journalists after he led some members of the association to visit the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar in his office in Abuja.
“Our visit to the minister is to create more awareness and how to support in curtailing the faster spreading disease in the country,” he said.
“We are also visiting the NCDC and the National Assembly to create awareness and to know the level of their preparedness in curbing the disease in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that available EHOs across the country had commenced sensitisation on coronavirus (COVID19).
He used the opportunity to call for recruitment of more Environmental Health personnel.
He said their number was grossly inadequate in the country, saying only 7,000 officers are currently serving over 200 million Nigerians.
Samuel said that only 7,000 EHOs are currently serving the entire population of Nigeria, which implies that one officer is serving 28,000 Nigerians.
Samuel called on the federal, state and local governments to recruit more qualified EHOs officers for effective health service delivery.
Speaking, Mr Yakubu Baba Mohammed, the Director, Education and Training, Environmental Health Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON), said that the council had commenced sensitisation in public places to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Mohammed said the sensitisation was in line with the Minister of Environment’s directive to reach out to the public in high risk areas across the country on how to stay free from the disease.
He called on the government at all levels to strengthen environmental health officers.
Meanwhile, the Council has intensified surveillance at various sensitive areas in the FCT to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking to newsmen during one of the campaign, Yakubu Baba said that the Minister of the Environment gave the directive to the entire environmental health workforce to establish the environmental health surveillance in institutions risk.
He said that the EHORECON visited National Assembly, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (OSGF) Head of Service and Federal Secretariat, as the most sensitive areas in the FCT.
He said that EHORECON had established the surveillance and screening desk in all the departments in the ministry before the outbreak began.
“So, we need to scale up this surveillance to cover sensitive areas more, especially now with the current situation that some of the senior officials are really affected by the disease.
“It is pertinent to strengthen our surveillance; it is also pertinent to really be on the ground to see how we can contain the disease in the country.
“We are going to scale up the screening; we are extending to the national assembly, OSGF, the presidential villa, head of the service and federal secretariat, where it has most of the ministries.