How things have changed since we came back from the Christmas break, I think everyone is a bit shell shocked at the speed this pandemic has progressed, and it's still got a long way to go.
There is not one Australian out there who is not impacted in some way. The way we live and the way we do business is changing, and we have to adapt to it. It's not nice, and it's hard to see an upside at the moment, but while we may be apart physically, we are not alone.
It is up to every one of us to make sure we have each other's backs, especially at this time, the next few months are going to be tough, we know this. Environmental Health Officers know how to do tough, be kind to each other, and we will get through this.
Environmental Health Officer, City of Boroondara
For more information on this position, please go to www.ehpa.org.au/jobs
We are experiencing uncertain times with the rapidly changing global situation concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19) and with the Australian, State and Territory Governments leading the emergency response, it is important to remember the key role of Local Government in pandemic response at a grassroots level.
Local government, through its emergency management responsibilities, will be using their Pandemic Plans and Business Continuity Plans to reduce the impact of a pandemic on their local communities. This involves input and expertise from a wide range of council staff to assist in this process, including Environmental Health Officers (EHOs).
Increased threats to public health associated with events such as COVID-19 places greater demand and thrusts into the spotlight, the essential role of EHOs.
EHOs play a lead role in pandemic planning and preparedness, providing credible public health advice to staff and the community about health hygiene practices to contain and prevent the spread of disease. EHO's would also coordinate the provision of mass vaccination clinics for COVID-19 when this becomes available.
EHOs will be assisting senior management and officers with emergency and risk management to ensure essential Council services continue during expected staff absenteeism in a pandemic.
Often the role of local Councils EHOs is not well recognised in the community, and local government is experiencing a workforce shortage in this area. Remember the vital role your local Council plays in keeping the community healthy and a big thank you to all the EHOs working hard during this pandemic period.
If you are interested in joining this important profession, find out more on how to become qualified by visiting Swinburne University of Technology's Graduate Diploma of Environmental Health Practice.
Adam Lee, Pandemic Coordinator, Surf Coast Shire/EHPA President
Every now and again something comes along which is a bright spot in an otherwise pretty grim day, and I would like to share this poem with you, written by Samantha Crowe, one of our members. I think it's pretty good and sums the life of an EHO up perfectly, once you read it I think you will agree.
"I am part of a wonderful public health protection team.
I support the stay home message!
I am not a Teacher, and yet part of my job is educating the public about the importance of proper and frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of infection.
I am not an Aged Care Worker or Early Childhood Educator, and yet part of my job is to investigate infectious disease outbreaks in these settings.
I am not a Pathologist, and yet part of my job is organising the collection of faecal samples and investigating the results.
I am not a Nurse, and yet part of my job is providing vaccination to the general public and updating your immunisation records.
I am not a Doctor, and yet it is part of my job to tell you to stay home if you have a gastro illness.
I am not a Police Officer, and yet part of my job is to enforce the law, as part of my delegation under various Acts.
I am not a healthcare worker, and yet I have a very broad knowledge base and skill set to protect the public from infectious diseases, like Coronavirus.
I am not a Politician, and yet it is part of my job to understand the intent of the legislation enacted.
I am not an Army Personnel, but I am part of a workforce that is already deployed in my local community, engaged and ready to respond in a greater capacity during a crisis.
I am an educator, regulator and advocate.
I am an Environmental Health Officer, and I appreciate the dedicated and tireless work that everyone in the above occupations are doing right now to protect the public health and well-being in the battle to stop the spread of Coronavirus."
Samantha Crowe, EHO
Wash your hands more than you normally do, and stay home.
That's it for now. Stay safe!