The Vice-Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, has warned people against the use of local lanterns due to the toxic chemical content it emits.
Ambali gave this alert on Monday in Ilorin during the field posting presentations by the 2014-2016 Postgraduate students of the College of Health Sciences.
He was represented by Prof. Ola Tunji, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Technology and Innovation), in the university.
He therefore called for the eradication of the use of the lanterns in the country, especially among rural dwellers and market women in Kwara State.
Ambali said that the university would champion the project in conjunction with the state government, as part of the institution’s community service mandate.
He explained that a lot of carbon monoxide dangerous to the health of the users is released by local lanterns.
Ambali said: “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 institution would partner with the state government to adopt plans aimed at stopping the use of the local lanterns in markets.
The vice chancellor added 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.
Ambali commended the initiative of the scheme for the Master Degree in Public Health students.
The students were compelled to work in some areas of any local government in Nigeria for a period of three months to expose them to the realities of the health and living conditions of the communities.
Ambali described the scheme as a good initiative that also helps to implement the “community service” mandate of the Unilorin.
He said: “MPH programme is an important programme in the University as it helps to prevent outbreaks of epidemic and also sensitise 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.”
He stressed that the institution would not relent in its commitment to community service “because community service is something we take so seriously”.
The Dean of the Postgraduate School, Prof. Badmus 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. Wahab Johnson, observed that the field posting initiative is a vivid example of town and gown interaction.
Johnson 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 and gown event.”
He appealed to communities to leverage on whatever project the MPH students have done.
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 of the 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 and drilling of boreholes.
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