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FG tasks environmental workers to improve service delivery

The Federal Government has urged all environmental health officials to work on quality service delivery and expressed worries over increasing abuse of the environment, causing rapid spread of disease in the country.

The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, said this on Tuesday in Abuja, at a three-day programme on the National Environmental Health Business Forum, organised by Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON).

Abdullahi said operating by standard and quality service delivery would ensure protection, preservation, healthy environment and safety of the people.

According to him, the environment is increasingly being negatively impacted, which in turn, causes disease and other health conditions.

“Environmental health risks and exposures are responsible for nearly half of the global burden of morbidity.

“We are concerned about the quality of service delivery in the sector and insist that operators must imbibe the principles of duty of care.

“The health professionals should ensure protection and preservation of the environment and above all, work within the confines of a circular economy, which emphasise a green economy,” he said.

The Minister said the forum would provide opportunity to the environmental health officials to share ideas and knowledge with the experts.

He said the effort would support the officials to tackle the environmental challenges in the country.

He said recently, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Environmental Health Officers Act into law, adding that the effort would further empower the council to regulate more effectively.

Abdullahi said the Ministry was making the environmental health sector flourish to its potential as well as ensure the spread of disease was effectively tackled.

The Registrar, EHCON, Dr Yakubu Baba, said the signing of the environmental health officer`s bill into law by the President led to creation of the new name of the council.

According to him, the Council, formerly named as Environmental Health Registration Council of Nigeria EHORECON, now changed to Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON).

Health professionals should ensure protection and preservation of the environment and above all, work within the confines of a circular economy, which emphasises a green economy.

Baba said the new name also came with additional responsibilities for the council, adding that the new name transformed the operation system of the council.

“Because we believe with the consolidation of the legislation that established the council today, the government alone cannot deliver environmental health.

“So we need to also create the enabling environment for the private sectors to come and contribute to their quota and that is the essence of the forum,” he said.

He, however, called on the private sector to support the government in tackling the environmental challenges through establishment of public toilets, and other effective means to improve and transform the environment, especially to end open defecation and address other environmental challenges in the country.

The Ambassador, Republic of Poland to Nigeria, Ms Joanna Tarnavka, said Nigeria has really worked hard in terms of building awareness about the importance of environmental health and protection.

Tarnavka said the Forum would support the various stakeholders by providing a positive change and improve efficiency in environmental health as well as offer great opportunities that would benefit people in the sector. (NAN)

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