06.08.2004 Regional News

Water and Sanitation sector launches initiative

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Tamale, Aug 6, GNA- Alhaji Iddrisu Adam, Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, said on Friday that 55 per cent of the 300,000 population of the Tamale Metropolis, has no access to safe drinking water. They are therefore exposed to all forms of water-borne diseases including guinea worm and trachoma.

He said 85 per cent of the people also have no access to public sanitation facilities and called for huge investment and realistic planning to improve the situation.

Alhaji Adam was speaking at the launch of a local millennium development initiative on water and sanitation, aimed at deepening understanding, and stimulate interest in the sector.

More than 70 participants made up of professionals in the water and sanitation sector from the international, national, regional, district and sub-district levels in six regions attended the function, organised by WaterAid Ghana, a British NGO.

Alhaji Adam said over the past two years, the assembly had spent 3.2 billion cedis to provide 11 water systems and 17 sanitation facilities to some communities in the metropolis. He said the assembly had established a management system involving private sector participation in the provision of sanitation services and appealed to the communities and opinion leaders to co-operate with the assembly to ensure the success of this initiative.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive appealed to development partners to continue to support the assembly in the provision of water and sanitation facilities to the people since the region is guinea worm endemic.

He said records indicated that out of the 767 reported cases of guinea worm diseases in the country in May this year, Tamale accounted for 58 of them as against 26 within the same period last year.

Mr Ernest Debrah, Northern Regional Minister jointly launched the Initiative with Mr Iddrissa Doucoure, Regional Manager of WaterAid for West Africa.

Mr Debrah said sanitation management has been hampered by pervasive ignorance and the low level of community participation in clean-up exercises, as well as the general failure to observe the natural laws of health and personal hygiene.

He said even though the Ministry of Health, NGOs and some international organizations such as Global 2000, had made every effort to contain the guinea worm disease, the continued use of unsafe drinking water, unhygienic practices, as well as superstitious beliefs, had largely accounted for the outbreak of the disease.

He said the government would continue to pursue partnership with friendly NGOs and donor agencies towards the provision of potable water and sanitary facilities.

Mr Doucoure called for collaboration among institutions in the water and sanitation sector and the use of realistic data as a basis for water and sanitation planning and service delivery.

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