The government has secured US$74 million from the World Bank to improve water and sanitation services in the country to enhance the living standards of Ghanaians.
Part of the money will be pumped into providing 30,000 household toilet facilities for people with low income in the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA), through the Greater Kumasi Sanitation and Water Project.
This is to help ensure increased access to improved toilet facilities, while about 10,000 households would also get connected to water supply.
Similarly, 12,000 household toilets would be constructed for Greater Accra Metropolitan Area with 120 disability-friendly, fit-for-purpose, gender-sensitive institutional facilities would be constructed for beneficiaries in the Greater Kumasi and 30 for Greater Accra Area.
Ms Cecilia AbenaDapaah, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, announced these at this year’s World Toilet Day, at the Jubilee Park, Kumasi, yesterday.
This year’s celebration, globally, was under the theme, “Valuing toilet,”But in recognition of Ghana’s circumstances, it observed the day under the theme, “Stop open defecation, own a household toilet now, let’s play our part in a COVID-19 era.”
World Toilet Day was established by the World Toilet Organisation in 2001 and after 12 years later, in 2013, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared World Toilet Day an official UN day, November 19, 2019.
Reason to commemorate the day is to unite mass action against indiscriminate handling and disposal of faecalmatter and its attendant effect on the environment and health.
The event coincided with the donation of eight brand new 4×4 vehicles and 16 motorcycles for the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area to use to ensure sustainable sanitation in the areas.
They included Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Asokwa, AsokoreMampong, and Old Tafo Municipalities.
Ms Dapaah,quoting Ghana Statistical Service, indicated that 22 per cent of the population practiced open defecation with 21 per cent having access to improved sanitation.
She noted, in reference to World Health Organisation’s 2015 global health observatory data repository on Ghana that, some 3,600 children die annually in the country.
The effect of lack of access to improved toilets, she said, contributed to such avoidable deaths which were caused by diarrhoea which also contributed to open defecation or use of unsafe toilets.
According to Ms Dapaah, the world has committed to ending open defecation and achieving access to ‘safely managed’ sanitation for all by 2030 as part of the sustainable development goals, paying attention to the needs of women and girls.
And, therefore, “we need to continue to advocate the need to have toilets in all homes and institutions to help maximise the health, economic and social benefits of the people of Ghana.”
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, stressed government’s determination to ensuring sustainable sanitation under the sustainable development goals.
Representative from the World Bank,Mr Harold Esseku, urged all and sundry to value toilets and that open defecation should be a thing of the past in the country, pledging that the World Bank would continue to support to achieve sanitation goals.
Prof.EsiEwuah, former Vice Chancellor the University of Energy and Natural Resources, asked every household to endeavour to have a toilet to ensure dignity.
She indicated that some research currently conducted by some students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, indicated the presence of COVID-19 and other diseases such HIV/AIDS in faeces, and therefore, called for an end to open defecation which could affect the health of people.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI