GHANA is likely not to achieve the 54 per cent of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for basic sanitation, as access to improved sanitation is estimated at 15 per cent .
This was revealed during a stakeholders’ dialogue by the Ghana Coalition of NGO’s in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS), and World Vision in Accra yesterday.
The programme, aimed at raising solutions to Ghana’s myriad of challenges in the sanitation sector was under the theme, “The sustainable development goal: options and strategies for improved sanitation in Ghana”.
Addressing the gathering, Dr.Doris Yaa Dartey , who chaired the occasion, said it would be prudent for the country to acknowledge losing out on the 15 years of the MDG and strategise to put in place adequate measures to confront the challenges ahead.
She urged Ghanaians to take responsibility in the campaign for an improved environment rather than waiting on government.
She advised the citizenry to eschew open defecation and initiate proper mechanisms in addressing refuse disposal challenges facing the country.
The National Director of World Vision International, Charles Hubert, wondered why access to improved sanitation was still estimated at 15 per cent against the MDG target of 54 per cent in spite of elaborate policies and programmes put in place.
He said the majority of households, (59 %) share latrines, with millions of people still using communal and mostly unhygienic latrine facilities, while a quarter of the country’s population did not use any latrine facility but defecate in the open.
Mr. Hubert Charles said it was regrettable that many schools in Ghana lacked access to improved sanitation and hygiene facilities, leaving children with no option but to resort to open defecation in nearby bushes.
He said in pursuing his outfit’s vision for every child, they had identified improved sanitation as fundamental for promoting maternal and child health and the realisation of the child’s well-being. He said it was in the light of this, that they launched the “Improved Sanitation Now” campaign in 2014, to work with other stakeholders to address the challenge.
He said World Vision was committed to supporting the various metropolitan municipal and district assemblies (MMDA’s), the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Health Service to deliver clean water improved sanitation and hygiene in deprived communities.
A senior lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr. Kwabena Nyarko, who made a presentation on the theme, urged the country to prioritise and increase public financing of the sanitation sector.
He said the numerous sanitation regulations in the country must be enforced to deter people from compromising on their responsibilities.
He advised the government to focus on the marginalised and the underserved to progressively improve sanitation.
By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme