A member of the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODe), Mr Cecil Nii Obodai Wentum, has called on the government to make budget allocation for the operation and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities in public schools.
That, he believed would sustain the facility and prevent pupils from engaging in open defecation on their various compounds.
Addressing a news conference in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Wentum indicated that results from a tour conducted by the organisation around the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) project sites, revealed that various toilet facilities constructed by the government nearly 10 months ago were in a poor state.
“We observed that the seats of water closets, hand washing facilities were all broken and some were locked up when we visited the four schools within the La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly (LADMA) and the Ga East,” he said.
Mr Wentum noted that lack of funds to maintain the facilities had resulted in some pupils running all over the place to respond to nature’s call.
He suggested that the government should develop a strategy that would absorb the cost of water and electricity supply in basic public schools as a component of the free education policy.
The development of a clear road-map for closing the 30 per cent access gap in the provision of school toilet facilities latest by 2022, Mr Wentum said would help to solve open defecation.
Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, patron of M-CODe, regretted that the problem of open defecation had not been resolved since it had dire implications on the health of the citizenry.
She appealed to civil society organisations, religious leaders, professional bodies and other stakeholders to join in the fight to stop open defecation.
According to her, human waste could be processed to generate electricity and other meaningful resources that could improve the economy and urged the citizenry to learn from best practices from developed countries to treat nature’s call with dignity.
The chairman of Ghana Coalition of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS), Mr Atta Arhin, on his part stated that the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report indicated that over six million pupils practice open defecation across the globe and 30 per cent of public schools did not have access to toilet facility.
He said efforts, should therefore, be channelled in the area and stressed the need for strong leadership and effective coalition to help find lasting solution to the situation.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE