Worried by the challenges of environmental health officers and inefficiency of their services in the state, the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency in collaboration with other MDAs that are concerned with environmental health has assured cross riverians of a new restructuring for environmental health in the state.
This was made known by the Director General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu at a meeting she held with Heads of Environmental health Unit,18 PHC Coordinators of the LGAs and other relevant stakeholders of some selected MDAs in Calabar.
Impressed with the turnout, Dr. Betta Edu said the Agency would propose a bill amendment to Cross River State House of Assembly that would empower environmental health officers to carry out their duties effectively in standard with global best practices.
Speaking further, the DG said integration is cardinal to achieving new restructuring in environmental health services in the state. She therefore, implores PHC coordinators to always integrate Environmental Health Officers in primary healthcare activities. In her words “environmental health officers are not on their own, they are part of primary healthcare”
She commended the PHC coordinator of Bakassi, Mrs. Etene Eja Emmanuel for integrating Environmental Health Officers in primary healthcare activities whilst she was at Akamkpa as PHC coordinator. “that shows strong level of leadership and integration” Dr Betta Edu reiterated that environmental health is one of the pillars of primary healthcare and thus, it must be integrated in PHC activities whether it is immunization or birth registration or sanitation etc.
The DG disclosed that the National have approved basic healthcare provision fund that would be disbursed directly to PHCs from CBN. Two forms of funds to be disbursed are capitation and basic healthcare funds. She said that the state is at the verge of creating local government health authorities in the 2-3 months time. These monies would be based on the plan drawn by facilities at the community level and Local Government Health Authority level.
Environmental Health Officers should be attached to facilities and catchment areas to reflect their budgets.
She assures Environmental Health Officers of fumigation equipment and also repealing of Urban Development Authorities laws that prohibits their duties.
Also speaking the representative of Calabar Urban Development Authority, Barr. Effiong Ekpo said there is a cordial relationship between Environmental Health Officers and CUDA. According to him, EHOs are supposed to be the police agencies used in prosecuting defaulters as they are empowered by law.
The Director of Planning Research and Statistics (CRSPHCDA) Mr. Ekereke Augustine while speaking reiterated the importance of birth registration.
The meeting climaxed in constitution of Communiqué Drafting Committee comprising of the Director of Administration (CRSPHCDA), 1 PHC coordinator and 3 heads of Environmental Health.
Present at the meeting were representatives of Ministry of Agriculture, Calabar Urban Development Authority, National Population Commission, Waste Management, PHC coordinators amongst others.