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Dedication of Environmental Health Library in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (NEHA News).

On October 26, 2001, the Clarence Phenix Memorial ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH LIBRARY was dedicated at the Muhimbili University College of Health Science in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The formal dedication took place in a courtyard at the college, tented against the baking sun and ringed by an audience of about 150 people, including environmental health workers and friends from around Africa and the world, as well as the first class of students working toward a degree in environmental health. The students wore white CHAMATA/International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) caps, souvenirs of the first all-African Environmental Health Conference that was being held simultaneously at Bagamoyo, just north of Dar es Salaam. CHAMATA (the acronym is based on the Swahili for Environmental Health Officers of Tanzania) hosted the conference.

Noteworthy in the audience were those who have been working tirelessly over the past few years to raise funds for the library-including John McCandless and the members of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Northern Ireland Centre, officers and members of IFEH, and Stewart Petrie, who did much of the legwork that brought the library into existence. Their efforts raised $60,000, exceeding their goal, particularly once the World Health Organization agreed to contribute many of the books for the library and to continue doing so in coming years.

The library was named after Clarence Phenix, now deceased, who taught environmental health in Tanganyika in the 1950s when the British controlled the country. He left in 1961 when Tanganyika became independent. Mr. Phenix was president of the Northern Ireland Centre when he died. That group cooperated with and assisted CHAMATA in developing the environmental health degree in Tanzania and the library, naming it in Phenix's honor.

The importance of the library cannot be overstated; its opening coincided with the start of the bachelor's of science degree program for environmental health officers, the culmination of a 20-year effort that gained momentum in 1997 when Mr. Petrie was brought in to help. Petrie worked with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, the University of Dar es Salaam, and CHAMATA. In 1998, three Tanzanian citizens earned environmental health master's degrees in the United Kingdom, which has enabled them to return to Tanzania as lecturers for the new degree program. Soon after, the program was accepting applications from students who wanted to join the first class. Of the 500 applications submitted, 24 were accepted, five of them from women.

CHAMATA chairman Fabian Magoma said that until now, environmental health officers in Tanzania earned only a diploma in their field. The new three-year degree program will confer the status of professionals on environmental health officers, which, Magoma said, will be "a symbol that will encourage future environmental health officers. It offers support and incentive to go into the profession."
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Article Details
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Author:Askwith, Leslie
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6TANZ
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:462
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