82% U. East residents go ‘free range’

Mr. James Zuuga Tiigah Upper East,Regional Minister

Mr. James Zuuga Tiigah Upper East,Regional Minister

ABOUT 82 per cent of residents in the Upper East Region defecate in the open. The remaining 18 per cent of the people either use water closets or public toilets, making the foremost of regions whose population defecate openly.

The Upper West Region followed next with 79 per cent and the Northern Region with 73 per cent.

The Executive Director of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Benjamin Arthur, revealing this at the launch of a book on Global Health Watch, described the situation as serious and which requires a holistic approach to deal with.

Presenting a paper in Accra yesterday on National sanitation policy and the right to health,” Mr. Arthur said despite the national campaign on good sanitation and health, sections of the public had failed to take the entire exercise seriously thereby leaving it to a few.

He said until people attached seriousness to sanitation, cases of cholera and other diseases would continue to increase.

The Volta Region according to Mr. Arthur was fourth on the list with 31 per cent, followed by the Central Region, 18 per cent; Western, 13 per cent; Greater Accra, eight per cent; Eastern, six per cent , Brong Ahafo, six per cent with Ashanti Region, three per cent.

Mr. Arthur noted that there was a relationship between faecal waste and cholera noting every person or patient, diagnosed to have cholera, meant that that person might have eaten fecal waste and therefore urged the public, especially parents to ensure that their wards washed their hands after visiting the toilet.

Delivering a paper on “The crisis of maternal and reproductive health”, the Senior Adviser of Ipas Ghana,. Selorme .K. Azumah, said most women died needlessly mostly because of administrative problems.

He identified the lack of blood, non- functioning operating theatres and transportation among others as factors responsible..

He said there were great disparities existing between rich and poor countries with women in high-income countries having one in 3,800 life time chances of dying from childbirth as compared to one in 39 chances of women in low income countries dying as a result of childbirth related causes.

”‘In absolute numbers, maternal deaths per year has declined from 543,000 in 1990 to 287,000 in 2010 globally but disparities between the rich and the poor had not changed’, he said.

Mr. Azuma said universal access to reproductive and sexual health included access to effective contraception, safe abortion and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and a focus on adolescents-related issues continued to be an issue to be looked at.

The Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, Dr. Joseph Amuzu, commended NGOs in the health sector for their complementing effort to assist the government in its quest to provide quality health for the masses.

He said NGOs in their work, continued to play a watchdog role in diverse way, noting that their watchdog roles with the media do not mean they were against the government or the institutions responsible for providing healthcare for the people.

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour & Gifty Ansah

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