The President of Environmental Health Officers Association, South East zone, Mr. Eze Emmanuel yesterday lamented that over 2.5 million young children die annually across the globe due to malaria disease with huge sum of money being spent on treatment. Mr. Eze who made this known in Enugu during a four-day International Conference on Environmental Health, with a theme; “Environmental Health Practice yesterday, today, and tomorrow” called on Nigerians to imbibe the practice of personal and environmental hygiene to reduce the alarming rate of death.
He said that diseases such as diarrhea, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene account for about 18% of deaths among the under-five children globally. “In West Africa sub-region alone (Nigeria included), malaria cases were estimated to be over one hundred million in 2016 with 224,000 deaths recorded. According to world malaria report 2017, Nigeria accounts for 27% of the global malaria cases and 30% deaths, making it the highest burden country, yet about sixteen million US dollars was said to have been spent recently by the Nigerian government in the procurement of mosquito nets for its anti-malaria scheme.
“I urge all the participants across the five states of the South East geo-political zone namely; Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states to look back with nostalgia to those good old days when through routine sanitary inspection of premises, Nigerians imbibed the practice of personal and environmental hygiene”, He said. Mr. Eze said that proper environmental sanitation had been widely recognized to be most cost-effective in malaria reduction as well as other environmental related diseases. He therefore called for modifications of the treatment of the diseases through standard environmental health practice to reduce urban and community slums and also reduce huge spending by government.
“Persuasion and enforcement of laws on sanitary inspection made our villages and communities clean”, he recalled. The zonal environmental health boss however said that in the face of increasing emergence of strange epidemic challenges such as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, avian influenza, infantile diarrhea, food poisoning, viral haemorrhagic fever, gastroenteritis, yellow fever, and the human induced climate change, including the practice of open deification, it was expedient and incumbent on health sanitarians to rise up to their duties in order to remain relevant in the comity of professionals.
According to him, “We must therefore exhibit seriousness, patriotism, and true love for the profession while striving to maintain standards in our daily operations. It is my believe therefore that this conference couldn’t have come at a better time than now” He commended the recent signing into law, the bill establishing Environmental Health Department in Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, pointing out that it had reduced the rate of unemployment in the state.