Thirty environmental health county coordinators and water safety focal persons from Liberia’s 15 counties recently participated in a five-day seminar in water safety, food safety, and water quality.
The seminar was held November 20-24 in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
An official of the Public Health Institute of Liberia (PHIL), Benjamin Charles Soko, told the Daily Observer that the seminar also exposed the participants to sanitation, hygiene, and environmental engineering.
According to Soko, other areas included vector control and chemical safety.
Each facilitator, he noted, provided detailed analysis in thematic areas related to the division of environmental health and administered pre and post-tests to measure the participants’ understanding of the presentations.
He also said water quality technicians were taken to the field to collect samples of water for chemical, bacteria, and physical analyses and a survey cots (commercial off the shelf) application was used to give participants practical knowledge on how to enter and submit data to the survey server.
This technique, Soko noted, was done on each participant’s smartphone for better data collection and quality reporting system through Global Posting System (GPS) mapping.
“We wanted to know how much the Environmental Health County Coordinators have in preventing various diseases or conditions of environmental concern,” he stressed.
In particular, he said they wanted to identify where the lapses were in various areas of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health from the county level on water safety, food safety, water quality, water sanitation and hygiene, environmental engineering, vector control and chemical safety.
The purpose of the seminar was threefold, Soko explained: to find out to what extent county-level environmental health technicians were updated when it comes to environmental health activities, to determine the water quality focal persons’ knowledge in water analysis and the methods of reporting through GPS techniques as well as barriers to equipment maintenance for water quality equipment.