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This study set out to investigate the perception of environmental health workers on the implementation of components of environmental sanitation in Anambra State. The investigation was carried out using questionnaire survey research design. In line with the objectives of the study, eight research questions and two null hypotheses were formulated based on the selected eight components of environmental sanitation. The target population consisted of one hundred and eighty two environmental health workers in the employment of Anambra State Government. The entire one hundred and eighty-two environmental health workers were used as the sample for the study. Questionnaire was the instrument used for data collection. Validity was ensured through critical examination by experts in Public Health. Reliability was established using test re-test method and correlation coefficient of 0.86 was attained. The means of the weighted scores of the questionnaire items of the selected eight components of environmental sanitation were used to answer the research questions. Decision rule was that any questionnaire item whose mean and grand mean respectively were below 2.50 indicated improper implementation, while any questionnaire item whose mean and grand mean were 2.50 and above indicated proper implementation. The t-test statistics was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The following were the major findings: Sanitary inspection of premises as well as solid waste management among others were not properly implemented as the mean of each item and grand mean of each of the components fell below 2.50. There was also no significant difference in the mean weighted scores of the male and female, urban and rural environmental health workers. The researcher inferred that the components have not been properly implemented in Anambra State. Necessary conclusions and recommendations were therefore made.
Background of the study
Anambra State as part of Nigeria adopted environmental sanitation to promote human and environmental health (Federal Ministry of Environment, 2005). However, the state of the environment of Anambra State speaks poorly about the objectives of environmental sanitation being achieved (Anyaeji, 2005). Anyaeji (2005) observed that environmental sanitation in Anambra State is generally poor. Kriesel (1990) observed that people are producing health nuisances more than they are abating them. In the words of Eke (1983) the environment of Anambra State continues to degenerate, deteriorate and degrade.
Environmental sanitation, according to Ogbalu (1997), is a process of taming the environment so that it no longer constitutes a hazard to man. The components of environmental sanitation are Solid waste management, Medical waste management, Food sanitation, Sanitary inspection of premises, Market and abattoir sanitation, Adequate potable water supply, School sanitation, Pest and vector control, Management of urban drainage, Control of reared and stray animals, Disposal of the dead, Weed and vegetation control, Hygiene education and promotion (F.M.E. 2005). Jamison (1993) stated that the components of environmental sanitation are part of wellness approach to life. Sridhar (1999) asserted that the practice of environmental sanitation had tremendously improved public health status of most countries of the world.
Various opinions have been expressed on the need to practice environmental sanitation to ensure a sustainable environment (F.M.E.,2005) . This is because according to Davis (1969) and Ogbalu (1997) whatever happens to the environment affects those within it. F.M.E (2005) asserted that the alarming rate at which heaps of solid wastes occupy most of Nigerian cities constituted visual blight, odour nuisance and provided favourable breeding grounds for vectors of many diseases. Obionu (1987) noted that due to inadequate sanitary inspection of premises, many health hazards are not detected and abated. The World Health Organisation (WHO 1993) is also concerned about poor sanitation in member countries. In a resolution by the regional committee for Africa during the forty-third session, stated in its document AFR (RC43) RS of 7th September, 1993, that: It is expedient to affirm that proper sanitation and sound waste management are crucial in the promotion and protection of human health and the environment, both of which are necessary for sustainable development.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID, 1999) informed that deficiencies in pest and vector control, food sanitation, school sanitation, market and abattoir sanitation, adequate potable water supply and sewage management contribute significantly to the continuing high rate of sanitation related diseases. WHO (1997) noted that there is a relationship between improper implementation of components of environmental sanitation and sanitation related diseases. Udoh (1981) in a study conducted in South West of Nigeria using research survey method on the provision of healthful living
environment in elementary schools found out that most schools lacked basic sanitation facilities.
The historical perspective of efforts to improve environmental sanitation in Nigeria was given by the Federal Ministry of Environment in 2005. It stated that culturally, certain norms guided the maintenance of adequate sanitation in the communities. For instance, women and children, particularly the girls sweep the homes/surroundings and empty refuse bins. There are also cultural festivals that emphasize cleanliness in various communities and many such festivals still persist today. During the pre-independence era (1900-1960) adequate sanitation was maintained by enforcement of Public Health Laws through routine house to house inspection, while in the immediate post-independence era (1961-1980) legislation and authority on environmental sanitation were derived from the Nigeria Constitution as stated in the concurrent, executive and residual lists. In the current dispensation (1981 to date), all tiers of government have developed legislative/regulatory instrument to further address the issue of sanitation. Also at various times, there was creation of several state and Local Government Agencies responsible for sanitation and lately, the creation of the Federal Ministry of Environment in 1999.
Despite all these efforts Sridhar (1999) observed that environmental sanitation in Nigeria is generally poor. According to the 2003 Nigeria Demographic and Health Surrey (NDHS, 2003) infant mortality and child mortality have remained high at one hundred (100) and two hundred and one (201) per thousand (1000) live births respectively mainly due to diseases such as
malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. In addition, about 50% of Nigerians suffer at least one acute episode of malaria every year with grave socio-economic implications in terms of productivity and cost of medications.
The launching of the National Policy on Environmental Sanitation was aimed at improving public health and welfare, improve quality of life and to ensure a sustainable environment (F.M.E. 2005). Anyaeji (2005) observed that these objectives are not being achieved. The study of perception of environmental health workers on the implementation of components of environmental sanitation in Anambra State of Nigeria seeks to find out the true situation of environmental sanitation in Anambra State since the proper implementation of the components would be justified by the state of the environment. The researcher believed that the environmental health workers’ perception of the implementation of components of environmental sanitation in Anambra State would be reliable and the true nature of environmental sanitation in Anambra State since as skilled professionals they are well informed about the national policy on environmental sanitation and the implementation of the policy in Anambra State.
Advanced Learners Dictionary defined perception as the way people notice things especially with the senses, the ability to understand the true nature of something. Environmental health workers in addition to their natural senses, are trained and equipped with techniques of their job and are therefore better subjects to respond on the implementation of the components of environmental sanitation in Anambra State. These environmental
health workers are working in Anambra State Government. They
consist of both male and female, young and old officers with
Statement of the problem
There is a National Policy on environmental sanitation (F.M.E. 2005). We are aware that Anambra State Government adopted and initiated programme on environmental sanitation based on that policy. Even though there is improved awareness on sanitation through public health education on the radio and print media since the present administration, it seems the programme is not working according to the policy. Solid waste management, Sanitary inspection of premises, Sewage management, Market and abattoir sanitation, Pest and vector control, School sanitation, Food sanitation and Adequate potable water supply are still difficult and problematic to come by. Sanitation, which prevents diseases, cuts across every sphere of our daily activities and deserves proper implementation. According to F.M.E (2005) the poor environmental sanitation condition has contributed significantly to high prevalence of communicable diseases in Nigeria. That human and environmental health are dwindling despite our efforts to ensure a sustainable environment and promote human and environmental health seems not easily understood. Since environmental sanitation possesses those components with objectives that would promote public health and welfare, improve quality of life and ensure a sustainable environment, the researcher believes that environmental sanitation may not have been implemented as stipulated in the national policy on environmental sanitation. That
the environment is unfriendly and one of man’s greatest enemy is a source of worry to the researcher. These have agitated the mind of the researcher to ask the following questions:
Are the components of environmental sanitation been properly implemented in Anambra State? What is the perception of environmental health workers on the implementation of the components? Does the state of our environment suggest that the components are properly implemented?
The study therefore sought to find out the true situation of the components of environmental sanitation in Anambra State of Nigeria.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study was to investigate the implementation of components of environmental sanitation in Anambra State. Specifically, the investig
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