Anita Mwinisonaam, the 2018 winner of Miss Metro Ghana beauty pageant, has launched a campaign in the Upper East Region to help address the problems associated with water and sanitation.
Miss Metro Ghana, a special initiative of the Miss Metro Ghana Foundation, is aimed at crowning a queen annually, who will be an advocate to educate members of the public on the negative effects of filth, as well as champion the adoption of good sanitation practices.
The objective is to further complement government's effort at attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly goals three and six, which aim at ensuring good health and well-being, and achieving clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 respectively.
The project, which will employ behaviour change communication approach, seeks to instil good attitudes in the youth, especially children, and make them ambassadors of the campaign, as well as engage key stakeholders to amplify the voice against indiscriminate littering of the environment.
Ms. Mwinisonaam said she contested and worked to win the crown because she has the passion for good sanitation practice and the zeal to improve sanitation, as it is disheartening to see people die from filth and unsafe water-related diseases.
“According to the World Bank report in 2012, about 19,000 Ghanaians, including 5,000 children below the age of five, died as result of poor sanitation practices and Ghana's economy lost about GH¢420 million in that year and the National Malaria Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service indicates that one person dies of malaria every three hours,” she disclosed.
Ms Mwinisonaam, who suggested attitudinal change as the most effective weapon to tackle the phenomenon, said the project will target 40 basic schools and 40 religious bodies across the 15 municipalities and districts in the region in a bid to educate people on how human activities adversely affect health and welfare of people.
The Regional Director, Community Water & Sanitation Agency (CSWA), Mr. John Godson Aduakye, said the sanitation menace is the biggest problem confronting the country, adding that only 15 per cent of the entire region has good sanitary environment.
The Regional Director of the Ghana Health Services, Dr. Winfred Ofosu, explained that the consequences of poor sanitation ‒ resulting from human activities such as illegal mining, open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of rubbish, among others ‒ are enormous.