All three tiers of the Nigerian government must lift the current embargo on recruitment of environmental health officers if the desired health target of the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] is to be met by 2015, the chairman of the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria [EHORECON] has said.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 2nd induction ceremony for Registered Environmental Health Officers in Nigerian capital of Abuja Thursday, Alhaji Yunusa Muhammadu Danyaya said: "We hereby call on the federal, states and local governments to lift the embargo on employment and massively employ, train and empower more environmental health officers to enable them contribute in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals which is health for all in 2015."
Alhaji Danyaya who was represented by another official at the function recalled that environmental health officers used to move from house to house enforcing environmental health standards but "due to the general neglect of this sub-sector by both succeeding governments and the society over the years, environmental health services and practice have deteriorated in Nigeria."
The government has provided the enabling laws and regulations such as environmental health officers registration council act II of the 2002, national environmental sanitation policy and the national environmental health practice regulation in order to improve environmental health in the country, he explained.
Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, Hajiya Halima Tayo Alao stated that government was determined to ensure that environmental health services are given needed impetus for optimal health of Nigerians.
She said: "We are determined to improve aesthetic status of our environment and enhance tourism potentials of our cities, which in turn will create jobs for many of our youths."
The minister, represented by director of administration and supply, Babayo Y. Wanka added that the relevance of environmental health officers in preventive health is well established globally and "our ministry is committed to ensuring that you have the needed instrument to do your work effectively so as to ensure a healthy environment across the country."
Hajiya Alao maintained that over the years environmental sanitation has declined but noted that government has demonstrated strong political will to effect changes and to ensure that the lost glory and effectiveness of the environmental health officers is restored.