TAMALE: Government celebrates World Toilet Day
|Local Gov Minister || |
Government has procured four (4WD vehicles), 200 motorcycles, and computers for distribution to Regional and District Environmental Health Officers to effectively perform their duties.
This initiative formed part of efforts by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) to build the capacity of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies particularly the Environmental Health and Sanitation Departments (EHSD) with the required logistics and resources to position them to facilitate the implementation of sanitation programmes at the local levels.
Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Minister of MLGRD, announced this during this year’s World Toilet Day commemoration held in Tamale on Monday.
The Tamale event was the national commemoration and attended by organizations working in the Water, Sanitation and Health sector including school pupils.
World Toilet Day, which is an annual event commemorated on November 19, is set aside by the global community to draw attention to the fact that an estimated 2.5 billion people in the world are currently without access to improved clean and safe toilets or latrines.
In Ghana, the latest statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2012 shows that only 15 per cent (3.7 million) Ghanaians have access to clean, safe improved toilets in their homes, 58 per cent of the population share toilets with their neighbours or use public toilets and another 4.6 million Ghanaians defecate in the open daily.
This year’s commemoration was under the theme: “Achieving Open Defecation Free Ghana”.
Mr Ofosu Ampofo said the MLGRD with support from development partners and other key stakeholders had put in place the required institutional, policy and legal/investment framework “to address this developmental setback”.
He said “I must indicate that the required enabling environment now exists and therefore we must make the desired effort to increase the current low access on sanitation.”
He said tackling issues of sanitation should not be the responsibility of government alone instead “it must be seen as a collective responsibility and all hands must be on deck to ensure descent working and living environment for sustainable development”.
He called for a change of attitude and ways of doing things if the country was to achieve the 54 per cent target of access to improved toilets by 2015.
Mr Ofosu Ampofo said to move the sanitation agenda forward, the MLGRD had adopted the Community Led Total Sanitation Programme which was being implemented currently in five regions adding the next government would scale it up to all the 10 regions to ensure that the required impact was achieved in all communities.
He expressed the gratitude of government to its development partners, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, civil society and community based organizations for their contribution towards improved sanitation and making Ghana free of open defecation.
Naa Demedeme, Acting Director of EHSD appealed to chiefs and custodians of land to impress on land lords, tenants, prospective developers and subjects to provide toilets in their homes.
Madam Clara Dube, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Tamale, said sanitation was the most cost-effective of any health intervention and called for a stronger commitment on parts of all to make Ghana Open Defecation Free (ODF).
Awards were presented to schools for emerging tops in quiz competitions on sanitation as well as for 2012 ODF communities.