Environmental degradation

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.

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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