PUTTING THE SPOTLIGHT ON TOILET

TOMORROW, November 19, the world would celebrate another Toilet Day.

The World Toilet Day was instituted in 2001 in recognition of the need for an international day to draw global attention to the sanitation crisis.

Each year, the global community is called on to do more to address the problem which increases the risk of illness and malnutrition, especially for children.

In response to the call, Ghana, through the Ministry of Local Government yesterday, held a news conference, announcing a national sanitation programme which is also a competition to check, particularly, open defecation.

According to the ministry, the goal is to reduce the number of over five million Ghanaians who still defecate in the open space.

The programme, to be launched this week for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to coincide with the World Toilet Day celebration, is to motivate them to implement sanitation strategies in various communities across the country.

At stake is a total of 1. 28 million pounds award to the winners of the competition.

While congratulating the ministry and its donor partners for the initiative, we wish to express our disappointment at the low regard for sanitation in the country.

The number of people who continue to defecate in the open is alarming.

It is shameful that we are at this time and age still talking about five million people openly defecating in the country with its attendant diseases and other dangers.

This certainly, is, a major cause of the yearly outbreak of diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.

Lack of toilet facilities means the country has to spend more on the health of the people, and the cycle would continue so long as such facilities are absent.

We are appalled that the country continues to struggle with the challenge of ensuring that everyone has a toilet facility in his house.

We put the blame at the doorstep of MMDAs for the state of affairs because of their failure to ensure strict adherence to the bye-laws on sanitation.

It is time we treated the issue as a priority.

We have a moral duty to end open defecation and endeavour to improve on sanitation in all communities in Ghana.

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