Dr. Elias Sory, Director General of the Ghana Health Service on Wednesday, said sanitation had become a crisis thwarting the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in Africa and Asia.
“The root of this unrelenting catastrophe lies in the plain, grim fact that four out of every 10 people in the world do not have access to even a simple pit latrine and nearly two in 10 have no source of drinking water.”
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the 28th Health Week Celebration of the University of Ghana Nursing School in Accra, he said the world continues to be off track in meeting the MDG target to half the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015 and noted that if the trend continued, there would be 2.4 billion people without basic sanitation by the same year.
It was on the theme: “Ensuring a Healthy environment, a Way of Promoting National Development- the role of the individual”.
In Ghana, he said a staggering 60 percent of residents in the capital did not have toilets and one wondered how the situation in the districts would be and the precarious health-related effects it brought.
A concerted effort was therefore needed to combat the global poor sanitation phenomena with workable strategies and measures that would address the critical issues related to all aspects of sanitation, he said.
He also called for a purpose driven action such as advocacy for policy change to help mitigate its health related challenges.
The Chief Nursing Officer, Mr. George Kumi Kyeremeh said though efforts had been made by previous government to solve the country's sanitation problems it still remained a major challenge.
He said there were still chocked gutters, few public toilets with long queues making people defecate anyhow and polluting the water bodies.
Mr Kyeremeh said it consequences were the high incidence of malaria and the outbreak of cholera in some part of the country.
He also reiterated the need for continuous awareness creation, advocacy to sustain education from junior level as well as the involvement of all stakeholders to sensitize society.