The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Alhassan Samari, on Wednesday called for a practical and achievable approach to the country's sanitation problems to fully check and prevent the occurrence of controllable diseases in the country.
He said for a long time, Ghanaians had been reluctant to giving serious consideration to sanitation related issues and that it was time for the citizenry to wake up to the challenge and fix the problems of bad sanitary practices such as littering and creating stagnant water bodies which serve as good breeding places for mosquitoes.
The Minister made the call in an address read for him by his deputy, Mrs. Agnes Chigabatia, at the launch of a hospital sanitation and disease prevention programme in Bolgatanga.
The programme is an inter-sector collaboration of the Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the National Youth Employment Programme and Zoomlion Ghana Limited.
These bodies are expected to coordinate to ensure that hospitals and other health facilities are cleared of filth.
Mr. Samari said disease prevention through promoting high sanitary standards in health facilities should be given priority.
"We have taken matters of sanitation for granted for many years and it is timely that we are drawing attention to the sanitation condition at our health facilities."
He said matters of sanitation should not be limited to only unskilled workers and described them as people who least appreciated the implications of poor sanitation in health facilities.
The Regional Director of Health of Service, Dr. Joseph Awoonor-Williams, said poor sanitation in homes, communities and public places including health facilities contributed enormously to the outbreak of diseases in the region, saying that malaria, diarrhoea, and dysentery cases were high in the area due to poor sanitary practices.
The Regional Manager of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Mr. Roger Ayine, said malaria, diarrhoea, and upper respiratory tract infections among others could be effectively prevented if people knew and adopted good sanitary practices.
He said the health insurance scheme could do better if it placed emphasis on preventable rather than curative measures, saying that could reduce the financial burden on the scheme.
The Communications Director of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Mr. Oscar Provencal, said health facilities should be positioned better to cure diseases and not compound the sicknesses that people take there.