The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has supported 74 communities in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region to attain Open Defecation-Free status.
They have also called on other communities to emulate the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to end the menace of open defecation in the region.
Head of programming at the Catholic Relief Services, Madam Carolyn Edlebect disclosed that 5.7 million Ghanaians were practising open defecation; a situation she bemoaned could have dire consequences on the country and the need to work assiduously to change the narrative.
''This year alone, CRS through close collaboration with the Talensi and West Mamprusi districts have facilitated a total of 106 communities to attain their ODF status with 74 communities in the Talensi District and 32 communities in the West Mamprusi District,” she said.
She said the CLTS initiative was aimed that ''leaving no one behind'' in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030.
The three-year integrated Community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene improvement project (COWASH) and the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) projects seek to improve the health and wellbeing of 152,300 school children and adults in the two districts.
Madam Carolyn Edlebect said the initiative is also geared towards hygiene promotion and behavior change communication strategies on handwashing, safe water storage, food hygiene, and menstrual hygiene management.
She added that the project has enhanced and improved access to water and sanitation in the communities of both districts.
She stated: “The project will also construct 173 new gender-sensitive and disability-friendly latrines, and renovate 68 existing latrines, in 148 schools and 31 health care facilities to ensure that children have access to improved WASH facilities at schools and that health care seekers also have access to ready water to improved WASH services. 85 boreholes with hand pumps are being provided to communities, schools and health facilities in the two districts.”
The ODF initiative is funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust with a US$6.4 million project being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in conjunction with the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
The Talensi District Chief Executive, Christopher Boatbil commended CRS for their efforts in getting the beneficiary communities to being open defecation-free, adding that the government was also on course to ending the menace of open defecation in the district.
He said the assembly has constructed six 10-seater water closet facilities in the district as part of efforts to ending the menace.
“We have constructed 10-seater at the Tongo market, 5-seater toilets at Buugu and Gorogo primary schools and through the community water and sanitation agency, has provided toilet facilities for eight communities within the district to improve sanitation and hygiene situation in the district,” he noted.