Good environmental health practice critical— Health officer

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

The District Environmental Health Officer of the Ada West District in the Greater Accra Region, Ms Ruby Banini, has said a good environmental health practice is critical to supporting President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s campaign of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa.

She said without a good environmental health practice, the campaign of the President would be in vain and, therefore, called on all to take the approach of accepting environmental health and sanitation as their individual responsibilities and not the responsibility of the government and environmental professionals.

 In an interview to mark this year’s Environmental Health World Day, Ms Banini said she believed that “our contribution to supporting the President’s campaign will be our individual and collective responsibility to ensuring a healthy environment.”

Waste management

She said environmental health covered every aspect of human endeavour, citing, for instance, the issue of waste management in the country as a major issue.

“So, if we can start from there as a nation to ensure that we have proper channels in place for waste management it will help us to achieve the goal of breaking the barrier of disease between man and the environment,” Ms Banini, who is also a student at Institute for Environment & Sanitation Studies (IESS), University of Ghana, Legon told the Daily Graphic.

She said the way waste was disposed had direct relation on the health of the people, adding, “what we need to focus on today as a nation is our waste.”

Touching on this year’s theme, “Prioritising environmental health for healthier communities in the global recovery”, Ms Banini said environmental health was not in isolation and explained that an individual could be careful but the carelessness of another could affect all.

She, therefore, called for a holistic approach to environmental health concerns, “because it affects our health if we leave one person behind, it comes back to affect us.”

In a related development, the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) has stated that an environmental health workforce guaranteed that “the environment around us, at home, workplace, school, the place where we go shopping or where we will simply look for some form of fun, is safe, hygienic and healthy.”

Natural leaders

A statement signed and issued by the President of IFEH, Ms Susana Paixão, said municipalities and local communities were the natural leaders to plan based on environmental health.

“They develop the local economy, including transport, tourism and industry, and can play a leading role in healthy planning if they are alert to the potential risks and benefits that can happen as well as having access to the tools that can support their needs,” it said.

COVID-19

“We are going through difficult times, due to the COVID-19, declared by the WHO as Pandemic with alarming levels of deaths and infections worldwide, without distinguishing the poor or the rich, is directly linked to the lack of prevention and the failure to meet the objectives we have set for Sustainable Development,” the statement said.

It said the pandemic had come to demonstrate the vital role of the environmental health workforce worldwide to face the challenging time for all humanity.

The statement called for investments to avoid environmental degradation and pollution, in particular, not favouring the growing emission of greenhouse gases that are already known in common sense to cause global warming and promote climate change.

“We have to invest that same money to promote a fairer, more sustainable economy, for a more equitable, environmentally and more sustainable society, in a better, healthier and greener world (WHO, 2020).

“It is necessary that the world understands there is an integral connection between the environment, health and the economy,” the statement added.