A forum on sanitation was yesterday held in Accra to promote proper sanitation practices among students and healthcare trainees.
Organised by the Research Centre for Policy Advocacy and Governance, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the event was also to sensitise the participants on the dangers of poor sanitation and hygiene and build their capacities as sanitation ambassadors.
Opening her opening address, Mrs Comfort Mawuse Kugblenu, Deputy Director of Nursing Services, Occupational and Environmental Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service, said, challenges with sanitation in the country was a threat to socioeconomic growth and development.
She said proper sanitation and hygiene was necessary in creating health environment for economic activities to take off adding that it absence could be a catalyst for ineffective and inefficient human capital.
This, she explained, required that Ghanaians have a positive attitude towards proper sanitation and hygiene and do away with any behavior that fosters environmental pollution.
“We need to change our behaviour when it comes to sanitation and hygiene. Some people simply do not care about the environment. They dispose waste improperly; they defecate openly and litter gutters and their immediate space. That’s not healthy. We must all make positive changes in how we do these things,” she added.
The Ghana Health Service as well as other health agencies would continue to improve education and ensure effective dissemination of information to keep Ghanaians abreast with proper hygiene and sanitation practices, Mrs Kugblenu stated.
Additionally, she said the Service was improving collaborations with the various local authorities to make hygiene and sanitation servicesaccessible to all to remove barriers with waste management and proper disposal of both liquid and solid waste.
She reiterated the importance of collaboration between health agencies and local authorities to set-up coordination mechanisms at all levels to support government efforts to promote proper sanitation.
She urged local authorities to enforce the laws on sanitation to deter others from engaging in practices that degrade the environment.
Rev Dr Thomas Akuetteh Ndanu, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, University of Ghana, called for the establishment of more treatment plants across the country to process the waste for proper disposal.
He said the plants would further create employment to the country’s youths and make revenue for government for developmental purposes.
“Waste is now an avenue for wealth creation and it is time we change our mindset on it to see it as a resource that could create employment for Ghanaians and revenue for government,” he stated.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS