- The vision of the President also includes making Accra the neatest and cleanest city in Africa by 2020 and to make Ghana one of the most attractive tourism destination countries in Africa and beyond.
Written By Nelson Kofi Akatey - The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources recently launched the national guideline policy document targeting the pro-poor and vulnerable for sanitation services. The document is another important step by the Ministry to tackle head on, the sanitation challenges in the country especially, the issue of open defecation. It also demonstrates the Ministry's commitment in fulfilling the facilitation of the provision of infrastructure in the WASH Sector for Ghanaians.
One of the key reasons espoused by the President for establishing the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources was for the Ministry to formulate the necessary policies, coordinate and supervise the implementation of policy programme in the WASH Sector to attain the Sustainable Development Goals with particular reference to target six (6) by the year 2030. The vision of the President also includes making Accra the neatest and cleanest city in Africa by 2020 and to make Ghana one of the most attractive tourism destination countries in Africa and beyond. The low sanitation access rate in the country is a threat to the socio-economic development of the country. The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources seeks to enhance the provision of infrastructure including household and institutional toilet facilities for every Ghanaian. It is in this regard that the guideline policy document targets the poor and the vulnerable who are financially challenged and cannot provide such facilities. This makes them resort to the practice of open defecation. The guideline is expected to ensure equity, inclusion and sustainability and to provide direction for stakeholders to properly target the poor and vulnerable for the provision of toilet facilities without undermining community's capacity to build their own. It is important for activities in the WASH Sector would ensure harmonization for collective actions and contribute to national efforts in attaining the Sustainable Development Goal on sanitation and hygiene.
We need to encourage Community–Led Total Sanitation approach for the entry point to target the poor and vulnerable individuals and household within the communities. It was refreshing when the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources Joseph Kofi Adda at the launch of the guideline document stated that the Ministry has secured an additional financing of forty-five million dollars from the World Bank under the Sustainable Rural and Sanitation Project. This should help accelerate the country's programmes and activities in the WASH Sector to bring relief to the poor and the vulnerable. One therefore commends the support the Ministry has enjoyed from Development Partners and Stakeholders since its establishment.
The task ahead is not easy, looking at the statistics by the Joint Monitoring Research Report by the World Bank and UNICEF which indicates that only fourteen percent (14%) of Ghanaians have access to basic sanitation while nineteen percent (19%) practice open defecation. The effect of the poor and unhealthy sanitation on Ghanaians can be seen in low productivity as a result of ill health of the people, huge expenditure on government budget on the treatment of sanitation related diseases, poor patronage of the tourism sector, low revenue returns among others. It is sad for the country to continue to lose 290 million dollars yearly on sanitation related issues. Effective implementation of the guideline must help to reverse this state of affairs, and this calls for change in behaviours and attitude towards poor environmental practices, and should be backed with the strict enforcement of the laws. We all have a role to play to stop open defecation and indiscriminate littering, to ensure a sustainable clean environment which will support the national collective vision to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030.
BY: NELSON KOFI AKATEY PRO, MINISTRY OF SANITATION AND WATER RESOURCES (TEL: 0267 180 680).