The Paramount Chief of the Bongo traditional area in the Upper East Region, Naba Baba Salifu Aleemyarum, has tasked all the divisional and sub chiefs including the queen mothers in the area to ensure that the Bongo district meets its set target of ending Open Defecation Free (ODF) by the close of the year.
He gave the directive at a durbar held here at the weekend, which was attended by all the divisional and sub chiefs including the Queen mothers of the traditional area.
It would be recalled that in 2018, the Bongo Traditional Council led by Naba Aleemyarum, made a commitment to support the district assembly by ending this unhygienic practice by the close of the year.
An assessment conducted by the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and WaterAid Ghana, has revealed that about 54 out of the 168 communities in the district had so far been declared ODF, leaving with 91 communities.
The Paramount Chief stated that the law frowned upon indiscriminate defecation, and warned that by the close of the year, any household without toilet facility would not be spared.
“I will work closely with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that anybody caught defecating openly is arrested and made to face the full rigours of the law,” Naba Aleemyarum warned.
He stressed that the communities had no excuses to make since their capacities had been built to secure household latrines, through the support of development partners and the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD).
The Deputy Executive Director of CIKOD, Mr Wilberforce Laate, explained that the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Public Health programme (WASH4PH) which was being implemented by WaterAid Ghana in partnership with CIKOD, sought to improve health outcomes including maternal, newborn and child health in the Upper East Region, with a specific focus on Bongo and Kassena Nankana West Districts.
He stated that the programme which had trained artisans in the communities to help put up latrines, aimed at strengthening and integrating Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and health planning to deepen the understanding of the communities on WASH.
While commending those communities which had been declared as ODF, the Deputy Executive Director, entreated the remaining communities to work hard to also meet the target, so as to help attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The forum which was organised with the funding support from WaterAid Ghana and CIKOD, also gave the platform to those communities which had been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) to share their experiences on how they arrived at ODF for the remaining communities to learn.
Sharing their success stories, most of the communities indicated that they enacted by-laws, drew action plans and acted upon them, imposed fines on those who refused to build latrines and also supported by the artisans who were trained by the projects to put up household latrines.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BONGO