Unilorin makes case for eradication of local lanterns
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Technology and Innovation) of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Gabriel Olatunji, has called for the eradication of the use of local lanterns among market women in Kwara State, due to the toxic chemical content emitted by the lantern.
Prof. Olatunji, who disclosed this during the field posting presentations by the 2014/2016 postgraduate students of the College of Health Sciences, pointed out that the University, through his office, would champion the project in conjunction with the state government, as part of the institution’s community service mandate.
Prof. Olatunji, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, on the occasion, explained that a lot of carbon monoxide is released by the local lantern, adding that “these women inhale this toxic chemical on a daily basis and as a Chemist, I know the implication of inhaling carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
The chemicals affect one’s health in the long run and one can even suffocate and collapse because there is a threshold level to which you can inhale such a thing”.
He disclosed that the University will meet with the State Government to discuss the plans to stop the use of the local lantern in markets, adding that the University will be collaborating with engineering students of the institution in order to come up with safer and affordable devices that will replace the local lanterns.
In their presentations, the students highlighted the achievements each group recorded in the various communities to which they were posted in Asa, Moro, Ifelodun, Irepodun, Ilorin East and Ilorin West Local Government areas in Kwara State.
These included the provision of incinerators, activation of village health committees, provision of generators to hospitals, upgrading medical facilities, provision of essential drugs to community members and drilling of boreholes.
Commending the initiative of the scheme, which requires the MPH students (Master Degree in Public Health) to work in some areas of any local Government in Nigeria for a period of three months in order to expose them to the realities of the health and living conditions of the communities as well as allow them acquire skills in areas of health planning, implementation and evaluation, Prof. Olatunji described it as a good initiative that also helps to implement the ‘community service’ mandate of the University.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor added that the “MPH programme is an important programme in the University as it helps to prevent outbreaks of epidemic and also sensitize people on public health. Not many Universities have this programme and I am proud to say we are at the fore front of this kind of programme”.
Prof. Olatunji then noted that the students have done well by contributing significantly to the various communities they were posted to.
Recounting the three core mandates of the University – teaching, research and community service, Prof. Olatunji stressed that the institution would not relent in its commitment to community service “because community service is something we take so seriously, whatever we are doing should have impact on our immediate community and you can see from the reports presented that they have gone there for three months to address the problems in each community and you see how far they have gone as students.
You can imagine the result we will achieve if the state and federal government will partner with us”.
In his own remark, the Dean of the Postgraduate School, Prof. B. L. Yusuf, urged the students to involve more stakeholders who will be happy to partner with community service projects so as to achieve even better results.
The Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Prof. W. B. R. Johnson, observed that the field posting initiative is a vivid example of town & gown interaction. He said, “There is no better avenue to impact the community than the health sector and the presence of the community heads at this presentation has made it a full town & gown event”.
He then appealed to the community to build on whatever project the MPH students have done.
Prof. Johnson further emphasized the need for the community to build on the existing projects by the students, adding that the projects should be maintained and used appropriately.
He stressed the need to ensure regular maintenance, especially in the areas of health and sanitation as these are core aspects of public health.
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