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15.04.2004 General News

New Water and Sanitation programme signed

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Accra April 15, GNA- Sheik I.C.Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister on Thursday said a new agreement had been signed for an amount of 407.5 billion cedis for the extension of support to the water and sanitation sector for the Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern and Central Regions. He said currently, there was an acute shortage of water in many parts of the Greater Accra region because underground potential for safe water was limited and sanitation coverage was frighteningly low.

Sheik Quaye said this at the launch of the DANIDA assisted Water and Sanitation sector programme support Phase II in Accra.

He said, "Apart from the air we breathe, it is a fact that potable water is the next most essential commodity on this earth. It is therefore, gratifying that we are launching this programme which will ensure that our people have some water for their needs".

He noted that during the period 1999-2003, an amount of 53 billion cedis had been provided by the Danish government through DANIDA for the provision of three rural pipe-water schemes, 142 boreholes and 11 communities connected to the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) mains. The five-year project, which elapsed on 31st of December also, saw 136 institutional latrines and 2,825 household latrines with the integration of hygiene into deprived rural communities in the region.

Sheik I.C.Quaye said a regional approval committee had been established to evaluate District Water and Sanitation plans and community sub-projects as well as the establishment of a component co-ordination committee to oversee the progress of the project.

The Regional Minister called for collaboration between District Assemblies and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to build the capacity of District Assembly members and officials, community level actors and the private sector.

Mr Simon Edem Asimah, Regional Director of CWSA said water sanitation and hygiene issues were crucial to the lives and survival of people in Greater Accra Region.

He said the present coverage of water supply in small towns and rural communities in the region is 41 percent while sanitation is 30 percent and the Phase II of the water and sanitation programme would help accelerate water supply and sanitation facility delivery and increase coverage.

He said the phase II programme was fully decentralized with responsibility for service provision activities transferred to the District Assemblies.

Mr Asimah said the District Assemblies would identify potential beneficiary communities based on poverty criteria and demand responsiveness for new investments.

He called for more support for the programme saying, "Even with the present support there is a huge financial gap. A quick analysis reveals that approximately 30 million dollars is needed for full coverage to be achieved".

Mr Kelvin Gallagher, Programme Management Advisor said there was the need for capacity development in phase II of the programme. He said District Assemblies should ensure that sanitation delivery was successful in the District.

Mr Mogens Mechta of the Royal Danish Embassy and Water Sector Coordinator urged the Regional Coordinating Directors (RCD) to embrace the programme and ensure that the necessary funding needed for the programme was realized adding, "Don't sit back for things to happen" He said provision of safe water alone was not enough and it was important to combine it with good environmental provision.

NSCE 04 NSCE Workshop Iodated GHS/GES organise workshop to promote the use of iodated salt

Tamale, April 15, GNA - A nation-wide survey has indicated that the Northern Region ranked the lowest in the consumption of iodated salt. Mr Chikpah Demuyakor, the Northern Regional Director of Education, who announced this in Tamale on Thursday said this situation has arisen in spite of the fact that iodated salt had been in the system for quiet some time now.

Mr Demuyakor was opening a day's training workshop for personnel from the educational and health sectors in the 13 districts of the region to promote the consumption of iodated salt in schools and the communities.

The GES and the GHS organised the workshop, which was sponsored by UNICEF and UNILIVER Ghana Limited.

The participants were made up of school health coordinators, training officers, district directors of education and nutrition officers of the Ghana health service.

The regional director of education noted that the Northern Region had a problem to solve, as far as the consumption of iodated salt was concerned.

He said, "it therefore requires a pragmatic approach to address this problem."

"We have to step up our awareness creation and education of our children in the schools and our communities of the importance of iodated salt consumption.

Mr Demuyakor expressed the hope that if the school children are adequately sensitised on the need for iodine in the diet, they would in turn educate their parents, peers and the community at large on the importance of iodine in the body.

He charged the participants to go back to their districts to organize similar training programmes on the effective use of iodated salt.

Quoting damage assessment report for Ghana on vitamin and mineral deficiency, Mr Demeyakopr said approximately 40-60 per cent of the country's six to 24 months old children are at risk of disrupted brain development as a result of iron deficiency.

He said an estimated 120,000 babies are born each year with intellectual impairment caused by iodine deficiency during pregnancy, adding that, in Ghana, where the goiter rate is estimated at 18 percent, more moderate forms of iodine deficiency are so widespread as to lower the average national intelligence quotient by as much as 10 to 15 percentage points.

According to the report, there are approximately 1,300 birth deffects annually including infantal paralysis, which are caused by iodine deficiency.

Mr Jacob Armah, National Iodine Deficiency Control Programme Manager and the leader of the resource persons noted that only 50 per cent of Ghanaian households currently consume iodated salt, which he described as very low and urged Ghanaians to adopt the use of iodated salt.


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