‘Acknowledge Environmental Health Practitioners as Integral Part of Security Services’-Govt. Urged
Story by: Akesi Duncan
The National President for the Environmental Health Officers Alliance-Ghana (EHOA-GH), Mr. Yaw Akwaa Lartey (Principal Environmental Health Officer) at the Denkyembour District Assembly, Akwatia has reiterated the call for Environmental Health Practitioners to be recognized as an integral part of the security services.
In an exclusive interview with www.thenewindependentonline.com, Mr. Yaw Akwaa Lartey has reminded government of the need to provide Environmental Health Practitioners uniform to enable them to discharge their mandate as expected of them.
According to him, he made this call at a public lecture two years ago organised by World Vision International in collaboration with Kings Hall Media and wonders why nothing have been done about it.
“Environmental Health Practitioners are the main Health Professionals who are to enforce Sanitation and Public Health Laws and Regulations as well as Prosecution of Internally Generated Funds(IGF) defaulters, sanitary and other Environmental Health offenders at the law courts, in the Local Government Service (LGS) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) where they perform their core duties”, he recalls.
Environmental Health Practitioners he emphasized are regulated by the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and are technically called Public Health Law Enforcement Agents.
Noting that, they are the only Enforcement Agents who are mandated by Section 56 of the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (ACT 30) and the Appointment of Public Prosecutors Instrument, 1976 (E.I. 4) which appoints them as Public Prosecutors in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs)
Quoting section 3 of the Public Health Act 2012 (ACT 851) and Section 296 of the Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 1960 (ACT 29), he outlined the mandate of Environmental Health Practitioners to include stopping and inspecting vehicles carrying corpses suspected to be capable of spreading infections, detention of vehicles and their occupants, making arrest without warrant and taking into custody any person(s) committing a crime under section 296 paragraph (a) to (o) of the Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 1960(ACT 29) formally “Criminal Code” for appropriate sanctions as stated in the Act.
He stated that in order for them to carry out these roles efficiently, Environmental Health Practitioners must be provided with uniforms and logistics just as any other security service personnel to make them stand out from others.
“Can you imagine me wearing ordinary clothes and flag down commercial and other private vehicles for inspection?
Would they stop? The answer is a big ‘NO’.They will not stop because my appearance does not command authority”, he bemoaned.
He therefore called on Government to ensure that, Environmental Health Practitioners are given Uniforms immediately after graduation from the Schools of Hygiene along with their appointment letters before postings.