WaterAid Ghana has called on the government to increase investment in the provision of clean water and hygiene to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It noted that frequent hand washing with soap under running water was one of the effective ways of preventing COVID-19, however, in Ghana, 59 per cent of people – nearly 17 million did not have access to clean water and hygiene facilities in their homes to practice regular hand-washing.
Madam Antoinette Shor Anyawoe, the Acting Country Director of WaterAid Ghana made the call during a media tour of some water and hygiene facilities in the Wa Municipality to mark the Global Hand-Washing Day. “It is unacceptable that in the midst of the global pandemic, where clean water and hygiene offer a vital first line of defense against the disease, nearly 17 million people in Ghana are still living without basic hand-washing facilities”, she said.
“To make matters worse, in Ghana, 46 per cent of schools do not have soap and water for hand-washing, leaving children vulnerable not only to COVID-19 but also to other infectious diseases,” Madam Anyawoe said. She called on the double investment in clean water and hygiene for all to have a healthy and secured future.
Madam Rubbina Karruna, Cities and Infrastructure Advisor, Foreign Commonwealth Development Office, noted that they were interested in how Ghana would build sustainability out of the intervention support being given to the country. She noted that there was a very strong link between health care and issues of water and hygiene, therefore, the need to ensure a behavior change among the people to sustain the gains.
Alhaji Issahaku Tahiru Moomin, the Wa Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) expressed gratitude to WaterAid Ghana and Partners for supporting the Municipal Assembly with water and hygiene facilities to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He assured that the Assembly would ensure proper maintenance of the facilities as well as add some to the existing ones to ensure adequate access to water and hygiene facilities across the Municipality.
Dr. Paschal Kingsley Mwin, the Wa Municipal Director of Health, said the Wa Municipality recorded 30 cases of COVID-19 even though it currently had no active case, attributing it to the good interventions put in place with the support of WaterAid Ghana and its partners. Mr. Adams Abdul-Rahaman, the In-charge of the Charia Health Centre who conducted the team round some of the WaterAid facilities including a bio-digester toilet facility, an incinerator, a solar mechanized water system and hand washing facilities, expressed his appreciation for the support.
The team including officials from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Wa Municipal Assembly, the Municipal Health Directorate and Environmental Officers interacted with beneficiaries of the projects who shared testimonies on how these projects were transforming their lives.