Benjamin Adamafio Commey, GNA
Accra, Feb. 26, GNA - Ghana needs to do more to end Open Defecation and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on sanitation ((SDG 6) by 2030, Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, Country Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
She said the country made significant progress in recent years towards attaining Open Defecation Free status and improved sanitation in some part of the country.
She in spite of the progress many communities continued to grapple with accessibility to improved and decent toilet facilities and therefore called for more efforts to ensure the realisation of the Open Defecation Free (ODF) objective by the stipulated year.
“I am impressed with progress made around the country, especially in the regions in the north. In 2019 alone, 960 communities were declared ODF but we need to do more because today, we still have 22 per cent of people in Ghana who are practicing OD.
“If we want to achieve the SDG target we need to get to zero per cent and therefore we need to act now,” she stated.
Madam Anne-Claire made the call at the launch of Open Defecation Free in Ghana Campaign and exhibition in Accra on Wednesday.
The event, organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resource, Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CoDE) and other partners was to highlight successes chalked by earlier campaigns.
It was also to recognise and reward individuals, agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations, among others that had contributed significantly to the Open Defecation fight.
It also sought to solicit more support from groups and other relevant stakeholders, particularly the public to facilitate efforts at ending OD.
Ghana spends about $290 million on sanitation related issues annually, of which $79 million is spent on addressing Open Defecation.
Mr Ronald Strikker, the Netherlands Ambassador commended Government for establishing the Sanitation and Water Resource Ministry as part of efforts to improve on sanitation and attain the SDG.
Mr Strikker reiterated his country’s commitments to partnering Ghana through programmes such as WASH to ensure that it ended OD, improved sanitation and achieved the SDGs by 2030.
He said over the past two years, the Embassy through UNICEF and other Ghanaian partners, had provided over 23,000 toilets to households in Ho in the Volta Region; Tamale in the Northern Region; and Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region.
Mr Kwasi Boateng Adjei, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to make the attainment of the district level ODF a standing agenda.
He therefore tasked Executive Committees of the assemblies, social services sub-committees to adopt ODF agenda as a key initiative and encourage the micro, small and medium scale enterprises and the development sub committees of the assemblies to be engaged in promoting sanitation.
“Let me also call on the MMDAs to set aside a percentage of their Internally Generated Funds for the implementation of ODF programmes.”
He therefore commended MMDAs who made significant improvement towards attaining the ODF status.