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07.07.2008 Social News

Ajumako falls short on public places of convenience-As only public toilet is in deplorable condition

By David Alan Painstil & Magdalene Sey, Cape Coast - Ghanaian Chronicle
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Ajumako, the district capital of Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam (AEE), which is one of the fast-growing districts in the Central Region, is in the news again, as having only one public place of convenience, which is currently in a deplorable state.

This deplorable condition of the public place of convenience is making life unbearable for the residents, who are compelled to defecate indiscriminately.

Although the district abounds in many tourist attractions, and national resources such as cocoa, the above-mentioned problem, is the biggest challenge facing the district in recent times.

Previously, there used to be about three places of convenience, which served the whole of the community, but due to improper management, on the part of the authorities in charge, all these toilet facilities have been abandoned.

But for the timely intervention of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) benefit, which enabled the community get a new public toilet in 2003, there would have been no place of convenience for the people in the area.

Some residents told Central File that when the old toilets collapsed, they resorted to using the bush to help themselves, which according to them, was very dangerous, considering the harmful animals that lived there. Others had no option, than to use the dilapidated facility, in emergency situations.

When Central File visited the area, it observed that even the only public place of convenience, which is the one provided from the HIPC Fund, was also in a very bad condition.

Even though the structure was constructed not too long ago, the building looked very deserted, as the roof had been ripped off by a rainstorm some months ago.

Also the structure was situated in the bush, making it uncomfortable and dangerous for residents who use the place, especially in the afternoons and at night.

One of the residents told the File that the situation gets out of hand whenever it rains, indicating that the ripped roof made it impossible for them to attend to nature's call.

The resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the stench which emanates from the structure, whenever it rains, was very unbearable, especially for people who live in the vicinity, and also posed serious health hazards to patients, as the district hospital is located a few kilometres away.

In an interview with the District Chief Executive (DCE) of AEE, Mr. Ernest Kwesi Obrempong, at his office at Ajumako, he told Central File that the management of the public places of convenience was not the responsibility of the assembly, but that of the assembly member, who had been tasked to collect levies from residents, to maintain and manage them.

He added that very soon every toilet in the district, including those in the villages, would be commercialized, in order to establish more places of convenience to serve the people.

The DCE noted that the people in the area had not helped the assembly, in solving the problem of inadequate places of convenience in the district, indicating that some time ago, when a policy was introduced to enable every household get a toilet facility, only one house in the whole district applied for the project, which he said had been phased out.

He said the project was aimed at helping houses in the area get their own toilets, since most of the houses did not have toilets in them.

He disclosed that many public places of convenience were going to be pulled down in the district, following a directive from Accra that toilet facilities should be provided for only identifiable institutions, such as schools, markets and lorry parks among others.

Following that order, he said, the district was putting up a new 8-seater Water Closet (WC) at the cost of GH¢26,500 for the market women in the area, adding that similar projects would be built in various institutions in the district in subsequent times.

According to Obrempong, the toilet facility, which is under construction for market women at Ajumako, is expected to be completed by the end of August, to ease the problem.

He gave the assurance that the HIPC toilet would soon be re-roofed, while the old ones will be pulled down, to pave the way for the construction of new ones.

The DCE, therefore, appealed to the people of the area, to help keep the public toilets clean, so as to prevent the outbreak of cholera.

Another interesting observation made by this reporter, on a visit to the area, was that most of roads in the community were in a very bad shape.

The main road on the way to the house of the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr. Isaac Edumadze, which many traders plied on and from Ajumako to Accra, was very narrow and almost covered with weeds. Another resident told the paper that it was very dangerous as two large vehicles cannot by-pass each other.

In view of that passengers refused to alight from vehicles at dawn, whenever they develop a fault along the road, because of the fear of being bitten by a snake.

Ajumako is a densely populated area, with its inhabitants mainly farmers.

The community usually becomes lively on Fridays, the market day, when traders throng the place to display their wares.

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