Establish National Sanitation Authority to give priorities to sanitation issues

Science Establish National Sanitation Authority to give priorities to sanitation issues
DEC 1, 2023 LISTEN

Mr Yaw Attah Arhin, WASH Technical Specialist at World Vision Ghana, has called for the establishment of a National Sanitation Authority to oversee the activities of various agencies working on sanitation.

He also called for the inclusion of Presidential Special Initiatives on ending Open Defecation within a period of two to three years by giving the practice the needed priorities.

Mr Arhin noted that when issues of Open defecation came up for discussion on international platforms, Ghana's name emerged and same was embarrassing.

He called for a complete reawakening and national consciousness to end the practice to reclaim the good name of Ghana.

Mr Arhin was speaking at the dissemination of a report on the state of open defecation and access to improved sanitation in Ghana.

The occasion was also used to premier a documentary produced through the efforts Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) experts, stakeholders, and journalists (Ghana WASH Journalists Network).

The 2021 Population and Housing Census by the Ghana Statistical Service indicated that the level of open defecation has dropped marginally in two decades.

The World Health Organisation says 7,653 deaths in Ghana were caused by WASH related illness in the year 2019, with 21 people per day, almost one person every hour dies from preventable WASH -related disease.

Mr Arhin said it was imperative to increase funding to end Open defecation as well as strict enforcement of all assemblies' by-laws.

He said stakeholders should also intensify a sustained campaign (education) to bring about massive change of attitude and behaviour in various communities practicing open defecation.

According to him, currently some schools, hospitals and clinics lack toilet facilities hence compelling people to continue to engage in open defecation.

'If you are driving on a Highway today, it is very difficult to get a place of convenience, adding motorists have no option that to resort to the bushes around to attend natures call.”

Mr Harold Esseku, World Bank WASH Development Partners LEAD, lauded Ghana WASH Journalists Network for working zealously devoid of political persuasions, noting the activities of Journalists had led to a reduction in open defecation in some areas.

Mr Esseku noted that although figures relating to Open defecation had reduced marginally, individuals involved in the practice had increased because of the high population.

Engineer Safaratu Mohammed Andani, a Director of Community Water Sanitation Agency (CWSA), called for continuous funding for the establishment of sanitation facilities in homes and communities to curb open defecation.

Justice Lee Adoboe, National Coordinator, Ghana WASH Journalists Network, said the documentary sought to unearth the underlying factors “that make it difficult for Ghanaians to access improved sanitation and why 17.7 per cent of the population resort to open defecation.”

The documentary was also to make way for stakeholders to strategize and implement effective policies that would create the needed access to improved sanitation in the country thereby end open defecation.