28.02.2008 General News

Eliminating water shortages - Osabutey calls on stakeholders to step up effort

By Accra Mail
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Ernest Ohene-Kissiedu
Dr. Seth Osabutey, a health advocate and environmentalist has urged the West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI) and other stakeholders in the water provision sector to step up efforts to solve the acute water shortage facing several parts of the country.

“Water”, he said, “is a right and not a privilege” and the government alone cannot meet this basic need, “hence the need for partners like WAWI and other donor agencies to come to the aid of government in its efforts in giving the citizenry this basic necessity”.

In an interview with ADM, Dr. Osabutey called for annual regional review of WAWI meetings to help address water shortages in the country.

The WAWI project, he said, was initiated to improve water supply and eliminate water-borne related diseases as well as improve sanitation in three West African countries namely Ghana, Mali and Niger.

He said WAWI has been a major partner in the sustainable development of the country and its drive towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

He urged WAWI to partner the government in its efforts at eradicating guinea worm in the country. “This would help in alleviating poverty among the people”, he said.

Mr. Osabutey commended staff of World Vision International and WAWI from the three West African countries and the US representatives of Water Aid Ghana, Carter Centre, Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and some District Chief Executives for efforts being made to solve water shortage in the country.

Mr. Bernard Aryee Mensah, an expert in water issues said the organisation was established in 2002 and had four major objectives towards the attainment of the MDGs.

These include increasing the level of access to sustainable, safe water and environmental sanitation among the poor and vulnerable in society.

He said other objectives included reducing the prevalence of water-borne diseases such as trachoma, guinea worm and diarrhoea.

Mr. Aryee Mensah said the organisation had so far made some valuable successes in its areas of operation particularly in the Northern Region.

Dr. Martha Agyepong, a corporate researcher told ADM that, the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) has partnered WAWI and has made tremendous impact in the lives of many through its programmes and activities in Ghana, Mali and Niger.

She said through the organization's efforts, Ghana was likely to be the first country in Africa to eliminate trachoma.

Dr. Agyepong called for efficient allocation and judicious use of funds, grants and resources given by donor agencies so that the poor would benefit fully from the achievements of the MDGs.

A resident of Adenta municipality, Madam Anita Opare Adjei told ADM that the issue of water shortage has been a major problem in the area for years.

“Water is life and therefore must be given the needed attention it required.

Our taps only flow once a week, some even once every two weeks. This is making living standards in the area at times very difficult”, she said and appealed to government and the GWCL to devise measures to address the problem.

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