The Chairman of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) Yaw Attah Arhin, has disclosed that 17.7% of Ghana’s population still practices open defecation.
“The inequalities are far more obvious – it is notable that all five regions of Northern Ghana had open defecation rates higher than 50%, with Savannah and Upper East Regions having rates of 68.5% and 68.4%, respectively,” he said.
According to him, in the 21st century, 74.7% of Ghanaian households lack access to improved non-shared toilet facilities.
“We have noted that whereas the estimated rates of access to safe drinking water in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions are 97.6% and 94.5%, respectively, the estimated rates in the North East and Savannah Regions are 54.8% and 55.1%. Intentional steps must be taken to address this widening inequality,” he emphasized.
The Chairman of CONIWAS said the Mole XXXIII WASH Conference which was themed: Ghana’s Commitment to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Connecting Systems to Bridge the Service Delivery Gaps has been carefully selected to reflect the complex mix of interventions and the systems required to deliver sustainable WASH services to the good people of Ghana, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
He said they will reflect on Ghana’s WASH commitments towards achieving national and SDG 6 targets for water, sanitation, and hygiene in the country.
Also, explore area-wide approaches that address equity concerns and promote sustainable WASH service delivery for everyone everywhere.
According to him, there will also be a highlight on cutting-edge partnerships with education, health, economic and environmental sectors in delivering cost-effective, affordable, and inclusive WASH services.
“We shall also review existing innovative financing approaches that are inclusive and self-sustaining. Explore appropriate technology and innovations for delivering WASH services in an equitable and inclusive manner. Develop practical and actionable recommendations for accelerating access to sustainable WASH services,” he stated.
However, in the area of solid waste management, he applauded the government for effectively partnering private sector to progressively realize the president’s vision of a clean, healthy, and prosperous Ghana.
He, therefore, reiterated the commitment of CONIWAS and its members to working with government, development partners, private sector, academic and research institutions, and all relevant stakeholders to accelerate and sustain the delivery of safe drinking water, improved sanitation, and hygiene to the good people of this country, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
The Reigning Child Sanitation Diplomat, Maame Akua Ohenewaa Gyimah, also seized the opportunity advise to the general public to refrain from open defecation and set a good example for children to follow.
“We, therefore, encourage all stakeholders to support and expand the Children’s Sanitation Fair, the School Sanitation Solutions Challenge, and the Child Sanitation Diplomat initiative.
These are clear innovations that seek to raise a sanitation-conscious future generation. Stakeholders may adapt these concepts at the local level so that more children will be involved.
I would like to first advocate for a modern toilet facility for my own school. A cluster of schools with over 4,000 pupils, we all share only an old and dilapidated toilet facility with less than ten seats; a facility which has also been taken over by the community. This compels some of the children to defecate and urinate in unapproved places. That’s the situation I currently face, and I cannot stand it,” she entreated.
This year’s MOLE conference was funded by UNICEF and GAMA SWP, Global Communities and Ghana Water Company Limited our Platinum Sponsors, World Vision Ghana, WaterAid Ghana, and Zoomlion Ghana Limited our Gold Sponsors and Catholic Relief Services, IRC, Plan International Ghana, SNV, Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) and CWSA.
Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh