Ghana to attain open defecation free status in 2020

RSMS 1By the year 2020, Ghana will achieve its target of a national open defecation free (ODF) status through its rural sanitation model and strategy (RSMS) approach, says the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.

Currently, access to improved sanitation is only 15 per cent having increased by seven per cent since 1990, implying that nearly one out of four households (22.9 per cent) practice open defecation or have no toilet facility with significant disparity evidence between the rich (one per cent) and poor (67 per cent).

Similarly, the practice of hand washing with soap is also low in the country with only 24 per cent of households having hand washing facilities and only half of those with soap and water on location.

At a national basic sanitation stocktaking forum, here, on Monday, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Kofi Adda, in a speech read on his behalf, indicated government’s determination to ensure sustainable water and environmental sanitation for all.

“This means, all people living in Ghana should have access to adequate, safe, affordable and reliable water supply services, practice safe sanitation and hygiene and that water resources are sustainably managed, by the year 2020.”

The forum was under the theme, “five years of rural sanitation model and strategy (RSMS), implementation in Ghana, learning for scaling up now and beyond”.

According to the Minister, the RSMS was developed to ensure consistency in approach for sanitation services delivery and it had been adopted across district assemblies which in turn have supported over 3,000 rural communities (about 750,000 people) to achieve ODF while process ongoing to develop then urban sanitation model strategy, adding that “currently the approach is being implemented by various organisations in 130 districts in all the 10 Regions.”

Mr. Adda noted with concern that many partners including quasi-governmental institutions, non-governmental organisations and some international water sanitation and hygiene(WASH)-based organisations have not been implementing their community led total sanitation (CLTS) and other sanitation programmes in accordance with the guiding documents.

He, therefore, urged all WASH sector players to adhere to the national guidelines rather than projects-specific guidelines currently being used by some organisations.

The National Coordinator for the CLTS, Tsekpetse Akuamoah Kweku, noted that about 90 per cent of stakeholders were in support of the RSMS but “there is the need to strengthen coordination at all levels.

Realising that some institutions were not implementing the strategy (RSMS), he called for sanctions for those not implementing it.

From Kingsley E. Hope,


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