Julius K. Satsi, GNA
Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - SEND Ghana and WaterAid, both, Non-governmental Organisations are calling on the government to prioritise Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues to salvage the country from associated diseases and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The two organisations made the call during a WASH Budget Tracking analysis forum held in Accra on Friday to analyse the study carried on government’s budget from 2014 to 2017 to establish the sector fund allocation and how they had been utilised.
The SDGs also known as the agenda 2030, Goal 6, targets to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation by 2030.
Madam Yvonne Kafui Nyaku, the Communication and Campaign Officer at WaterAid Ghana, said there was the need for government to increase funding allocation to improving access to the WASH agenda in the country.
She said the study was carried out in two districts – Kassena Nankana West Municipal and Bongo District in the Upper East Region to gather evidence that enough was not being done in the area and there was the need to ensure that people had adequate access to safe and good sanitation because the sector was not being prioritised.
Madam Nyaku said the project was part of the WASH for public health project to ensure that people had access to adequate water, good sanitation and also to assess the level of government’s commitment towards the WASH sector.
She said one toilet, one household policy should be rolled out since without it, people would engage in open defection method, which exposes them to much danger and poses a health risk to the community.
Madam Nyaku said WaterAid was of the conviction that paying attention to WASH could go a long way to the economic transformation and livelihood enhancement.
Mrs Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, the Senior Programme Officer at SEND Ghana, said since the country could not achieve the Millennium Development Goals, it was an opportunity to strategize to achieve the SDGs related to WASH.
She said, however, that water accessibility had improved, as more than 80 percent of the Ghanaian population had access to potable water supply but noted that the country was not doing well with both solid and liquid waste.
Mrs Agyemang reiterated that the government ought to prioritise the WASH sector by increasing budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Sanitation to aid the implementation of programmes to salvage the situation.
She said allocation to the water sector had been dipping over the years, adding that “In 2004, 0.2 per cent and in 2017, the sector had 0.5 per cent of the national budget.”
She said it was time for the government and people of Ghana to determine if water and sanitation, as well as hygiene, were priority areas for the country, asking that “If you want Accra to be the neatest, will 0.5 per cent of the national budget allocation help Accra alone to be neat?”
She said allocation in the national budget to the WASH sector was woefully inadequate and that there should be an increase in the budgetary allocation.
She said even with the 0.5 per cent of the national budget earmarked for the sector, not all funds are sent to the districts to facilitate the implementation of the WASH projects, thereby, distorting the plans of the district assemblies.
She said the country must take a keen interest in solving the problems associated with the WASH sector because it was directly linked with the health sector and that once the country was failing in that regard, there would be a failure at the health as well.
Madam Agyemang indicated that the human resources of the country were the main resource of the country and thereby if the workforce was sick, the entire country would be brought to her knees saying, “If your human resource is sick, development cannot take place”.
The forum, was attended by key stakeholders in the WASH sector, who all called on the government to have a relook at the budgetary allocation to the water and sanitation sector because the earlier the country paid critical attention to the sector, the better it would be for every citizen’s well-being.