Ghana must employ more than 54,000 Environmental Health Professional (EHPs) to be able to attain acceptable standards set by the World Health Organisation(WHO), to effectively handle sanitation issues.
The WHO standards, require 1:700 ratio of EHPs to a country’s population, but with Ghana’s current EHP staff strength of 3,400 against the national population of over 27 million, the ration is 1:7,900. Consequently, the Ghana Environmental Health Officers’ Association (GEHOA), has urged the government to employ at least 10,000 EHPs towards achieving the WHO standards.
The President of GEHOA, Mr. Charles O. Bosomprah, disclosed these at the opening of the association’s four-day 7th National Quadrennial Delegates Conference, in Cape Coast.
The event which was being attended by delegates from all 216 districts of the country, was on the theme “The Role of the Environmental Health Professional in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Mr. Bosomprah said EHPS were needed to help manage any outbreak of cholera and meningitis in the country.
He commended government for giving financial clearance for the recruitment of some 1,300 graduates of the three schools of hygiene, who graduated between 2011 and 2015, to augment EHPs staff strength.
Mr. Bosomprah lamented that Ghana could achieve only 15 per cent of the Millennium Development Goals of 54 per cent basic sanitation by the end of 2015, and suggested clear national strategies and financing in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.
He asked government to establish environmental sanitation and preventive health agency to rationalise institutional objectives and functions as well as form an environmental sanitation regulatory council to regulate sanitation standards.
Mr. Bosomprah also urged for institutional strength and capacity building, and enactment of a national environmental sanitation act and adoption of waste segregation, management and recycling at all public instuitions.
The Central Regional Minister, Mr. George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, in a speech read on his behalf, said that the country did not need loans or grants to solve her sanitation problems, which could be tackled through behavioural change.
He advised Ghanaians against indiscriminate disposal of waste, and urged EHPs to enforce by-laws on sanitation and prosecute offenders to deter others, to help achieve the SDGs.
Mr. Ricketts-Hagan said government had initiated the national sanitation day and recruited EHPs to tackle sanitation.
The Paramount Chief of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, expressed worry over the pollution of the environment in the country, and stressed the need for awareness creation on sanitation.
From Jonathan Donkor, Cape Coast