HEALTH AND SANITATION MINISTER: EBIAKU THOMPSON
After listing out his constitutional duties, which include ensuring adequate water supply in the hall, ensuring food sold in the cafeteria is cooked under hygienic conditions among others, he went on to mention some challenges he had encountered since assuming office a few months ago. The first challenge he noted was a difficulty in getting UCH sanitation workers to clear the dumpsite, which he described as being an “eye-sore” even before the tenure began, regularly. However, with help from the Hall chairman and hall management, he was able to overcome this challenge.
Next, he mentioned the issue of covid-19 cases within the hall. This has posed a challenge to the smooth running of some of the initial plans of the hall leadership, such as the ABH Clean-up exercise and the tank-washing exercise which were supposed to hold in August. Efforts had to be redirected at curbing the spread of Covid-19 within the hall. He added that the hall management and hall executive council have been of tremendous help in this regard.
The Health Minister then went on to list his achievements so far, the first of which had to do with sanitation, stating that “the dumpsite is not 100% in the best condition but there have been very rich improvements from the state it was in when the tenure started”. Secondly, he mentioned being able to obtain nose masks from the University Health Services, which have since been distributed among Brownites.
The health minister also mentioned that he has been able to ensure the pumping of water within the hall. He said that the decision to restrict access to the G-block pumping machine was necessitated by complaints regarding continuous wastage of water as students who turn it on do not usually turn it off. Consequently, it was decided that the porters would solely be in charge of pumping water in G-block, as with all other blocks within the hall. He however mentioned that after this decision was made, there began to be problems with water availability in G-block. As G-block is the most populated block within the hall, the water pumped finishes in no time and Brownites in this block have to come downstairs to fetch water, which is not very convenient. This has been a challenge but he said it is being worked on and there are plans to procure a bigger tank for G block.
The health minister stated that plans have been set in motion to ensure that the ABH clean-up and tank washing exercises hold this month. The World Cleanup Week is to hold from 11th September to 17th September, and he plans to have the ABH Clean-up exercise at the end of the week, on Saturday, 18th September 2021. There are also plans to partner with other associations and corporate organizations for this event.
The health minister said that some of the plans stated in his manifesto were scrapped by the Hall Assembly such as the periodic release of health-related infographics. He ended by saying that he will continue to strive to ensure that things go according to plan as he had promised.
When asked why the porters were put solely in charge of pumping water, since they do not seem to do it regularly, the health minister responded by saying that “different porters at different times usually have their way of pumping water”. Some porters pump water regularly, while others have to constantly be reminded to pump water time and again, a task he found quite daunting – having to go meet the porters every time water finishes. He mentioned that he had complained to two Hall supervisors, requesting that some students are granted access to the pumping machine but this request was declined because there has been a modification in how water is pumped. For example, water can only be pumped to G-block after the tanks in A-block are filled up. The Hall Chairman also added that some pumping machines were not functioning. The porters were put in charge of the pumping machines to ensure adequate maintenance as the pumping machines that are currently working should not be overburdened, lest they break down as well. The health minister however said that the complaints have been noted and will be worked on.
In response to a question about how cleaning of the dumpsite should not be restricted to ABH Clean-up Exercise days alone, he explained that the ABH clean-up exercise does not involve cleaning the dumpsite. It majorly involves cleaning the blocks. The dumpsite is usually cleaned by the UCH sanitation committee. He further mentioned that some collective effort is needed to ensure that the dumpsite is kept clean. The cleaners and food vendors who dump waste there are constantly being implored to ensure that the waste is packed neatly in plastic bags. This will reduce the workload of the sanitation committee when they come to pack the refuse.
Some other complaints were made by Brownites, including concern for the food vendor who sells food close to the dumpsite, the inadequacy of waste bins on some floors and the insufficient number of taps on the ground floor in cases of water shortage. The health minister noted all concerns and promised to try his best to resolve them.