By Fatima Musa
Registrar and Chief Executive officer of the Environmental Health Council of Nigeria, Dr Yakubu Baba, has called for the review of public health law in Nigeria to stop the spread of preventable diseases.
He stated this during an interview at the Media Trust Group office in Abuja.
Baba said ending open defecation by 2025 was achievable with synergy among three key ministries: water resources, health, and environment.
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He said the mandate of the council was to regulate issues of sanitation, food hygiene, premises inspection, hospitals, hotel services, international regulation, disease control and surveillance, abattoir and many more.
He called for the review of the public health law to provide for stiffer fines for breaching basic sanitation requirements.
Baba said, “The mandate of the council has been expanded to regulate the 21 components of what we call ‘environmental health’ as defined by the World Health Organization in all its ramifications.”
On ending open defecation by the year 2025, Baba said signing Executive Order 9 by President Muhammadu Buhari would enable them to achieve their target.
The registrar said Nigeria could eliminate malaria by first attacking the vector rather than spending monies to buy mosquito nets.
“What we need to look into is that the Federal Ministry of Environment should be given adequate funds to do what we call ‘Integrated First Management.’ It means we apply all the strategy, all the methodology of controlling drastically the number of mosquitoes in Nigeria,” he said.
He added that environmental health components had been neglected over time and there was a need to bring back sanitary inspectors to address environmental issues like flooding within states and local government areas.