Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, representative of the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) in Ghana, on Thursday urged government to formulate a comprehensive national sanitation policy.
She said this would ensure effective sanitation delivery for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals on sanitation.
Dr. Haque made the call in Sunyani at the opening of the 2008 annual review and planning meeting of environmental health sanitation directorate of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development in Sunyani.
The two-day event was attended by regional environmental health officers, representatives of the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, Water Aid Ghana, Ministry of Health and Coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) among others.
Dr. Haque noted that Ghana was not on track to achieving the millennium development goals target for sanitation but development partners acknowledged the fact that sanitation improvement was an enormous task for developing country including Ghana.
She said “ In Ghana this task is even daunting as just 10 per cent of the population use improved sanitation facilities and when use of shared latrine facilities is added this increases to 51 per cent”.
Dr. Haque explained that over the years development partners in water and sanitation had been advocating with the government of Ghana to ensure that sanitation was made a national priority with adequate budgetary allocation.
“At present the budgetary allocation is extremely low with the sector heavily reliant on donors who spend more than 90 percent of resources to address for water and sanitation in Ghana”, she added.
Dr. Haque expressed the hope that development partners would help Ghana to create a safe and healthy environment through the provision of improved sanitation services.
Mr. Michael Owusu Amoako, Deputy Director at Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council, expressed regret that sanitation in urban communities was deteriorating and district assemblies seemed to have been “overwhelmed” by filth in almost every major town in the region.
He urged the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure that the environmental health and sanitation unit was adequately resourced to enable personnel to work effectively.