Mr Isaac Newton, a Senior lecturer at the Ghana School of Hygiene of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, has slammed Ghana’s uneven Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to a population ratio, describing it as ‘troubling’ and ‘serious’.
He said the world standard ratio for EHO to a population, set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is, one EHO to every 700 population, but Ghana was currently using one EHO to about 5,700 people.
Mr Newton, who also doubled as the Acting Registrar for the Ghana Chapter of the West Africa Health Examinations Board (WAHEB), said the phenomenon was also partly responsible for the country’s dire sanitation problems.
“Hence, we are all witnesses to the serious Sanitation problems in the country. WHO standard is 1:700. That is one EHO to 700 population. What do we have in Ghana? 1:5700. In such a situation how do you expect the country to be free of dirt?”, he said in an interview with GNA.
He said School of Hygiene products, who are Environmental Health Officers, were few in Ghana, and that would have to be changed if the country hoped to remedy its sanitation woes permanently.
Speaking to the GNA on Ghana’s success in tackling unemployment as World Labour Day was observed worldwide and what that meant for health practitioners in Ghana, Mr Newton said: “unemployment continues to be a problem for the country and more sadly for students of the School of Hygiene.”
‘EHOs are few in Ghana, and unemployment continues to be a problem, which it shouldn’t, it shouldn’t be a problem for SOH products, because we are somewhat indispensable for a country like ours, a country with this much sanitation issues”, he noted.
He said employment issues in Ghana were influenced by government policies and priorities, and government would be having its priorities wrong if it neglected EHOs because they were the people the country needed most now to win the fight against poor sanitation.
Mr Newton who was also part of the West Africa Health Examinations Board (WAHEB) Examination Committee to set professional examination questions for Environmental Health Technologist (ND & HND levels) and Public Health Nurses (HND level) for Nigerian Candidates, called for more government attention to EHOs and products of the School of Hygiene as he insisted that EHOs were the people Ghana needed to win the fight against sanitation.