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About 11 million Ghanaians do not have access to safe drinking water

By gna
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Ho, (V/R), July 16, GNA - Mr John Dramani Mahama, the Vice President, on Wednesday, said more than 11 million Ghanaians did not have access to safe drinking water and urged civil society organizations to promote awareness on attitudinal change towards water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

He said government the had taken a bold step to lead the sanitation crusade by allocating 30 million Ghana cedis to the Water and Sanitation sector in fulfilment of the NDC's campaign promise.

“The sanitation situation poses a challenge to government and its allied institutions, notably, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies whose responsibility it is to manage the sector.”

The Vice President said this in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Albert Abongo, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, at the opening of a conference dubbed: “Mole XX”.

Mole XX is a conference organized by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) that serves as a platform to dialogue, share information and knowledge on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector. The conference usually brings together civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations,government stakeholders and people from the private sector.

This year's conference on the theme: “Twenty Years of Multi– Stakeholder Dialogue Ghana: The State of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)” also brought a delegation from some Eastern African countries.

Mr Mahama linked the sanitation situation to the availability of water resources and pointed out that promoting good and adequate drainage facilities in communities was part of environmental sanitation.

He mentioned the current floods in some cities, towns and villages that caused devastation to life and property as a big concern to the government and cautioned those building in water ways or throwing garbage into drains to stop.

“Government will continue to be open to suggestions from civil society on ways to ensure that water and sanitation is no longer a major cause of our poverty.”

Mr Joseph Amenowode, Volta Regional Minister, appealed to Ghanaians to respect the environment and minimize the current high rate of indiscriminate littering, stressing the need for people to be mindful of their actions towards the environment.

He also commented on food vending and noted that unhygienic food handling during preparation and serving often put majority of the population at the risk of contracting food related diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, and typhoid fever.

“As you aware, water and sanitation have become a critical issue in Ghana due to a combination of several factors, including poor physical planning, low institutional and human resource capacity, inadequate financing and bad personal attitudes towards sanitation.”

Mr Stephen Ntow, WaterAid Country Representative, called on District Assemblies to prioritize water, sanitation and hygiene by making investments in the sector.

“WaterAid also calls for the judicious and efficient use of such resources to the benefit of more poor communities than we are currently reaching.”

Mr Ntow pledged his organization's commitment to support the Mole conference while congratulating them for the contribution to the sector's development.

Mr Thomas Sayibu, Chairman of CONIWAS, said they would use collaboration, cooperation and confrontation as they looked ahead in the next 20 years.

He explained that they would use confrontation as a tool when collaboration and cooperation failed.

“Please don't think that confrontation will only be used in a manner of a nasty press release or through a demonstration.

Confrontation is about meeting with decision makers and educating them about how to improve or amend policy.”

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