The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Chinnia Issahaku has stressed the necessity for all District Assemblies in Upper West to enact sanitation bye-laws that make it compulsory for every household to have a toilet facility.
Mr. Chinnia Issahaku who made the appeal during the ‘World Toilet Day’ celebration at Jirapa indicated that there should be consequences for those who will fail to stand for the bye-laws.
He observed that Ghana is one of the countries in sub Saharan Africa bedeviled with open defecation, saying “only about 21% of Ghanaians have access to improved toilets”.
Referring to statistics from UN-Water, Mr. Chinnia Issahaku indicated that “it is disheartening to” note that globally an estimated 4.2 billion people are living without safely-managed sanitation and around 673 million people practice open defecation.
The Deputy Regional Minister announced that government is considering the re-introduction of the “Sama Sama” (sanitary inspection) concept and also make available adequate resources to environmental health officers to help them to deliver in respect of their mandate.
Mr. Chinnia Issahaku explained that the government adopted the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) as the rural basic sanitation promotion approach to replace the subsidy approach because the subsidy model failed to bring an end to open defecation (OD) after several years of implementation.
He continued that whist there are reports of successes in some districts where CLTS has been implemented there remain some challenges to be surmounted.
The Nandom District was commended for being the first District in Ghana to attain District-wide Open Defecation Free (OFD) status.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Jirapa, Mrs. Christine Bonbanye-Amadu announced that when the Assembly embraced the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) concept in 2018, it had led to significant increase of ODF communities from nine to 54 representing 46.5% of the Municipality.
She added that the Assembly is working in tandem with the communities to enable them achieve ODF status.
Mrs. Bonbanye-Amadu called for the CLTS concept to be given the needed attention so that all households in her Municipality would have toilets at least by the end of 2020.
She gave an assurance that the Assembly will continue to collaborate with UNICEF, Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), SNV and others in their quest of making the Jirapa Municipality an ODF area.
The Communication and Campaigns Officer of WaterAid, Yvonne Kafui Nyaku said her organization has dedicated the 2019 World Toilet Day commemoration to all selfless latrine artisans who have committed their time and efforts to open defecation in intervention communities.
About 82% Ghanaians do not have access to decent toilets.
She indicated that for over 30 years, WaterAid and its partners have carried out project interventions to change sanitation status of marginalized and ‘far to reach’ communities in Ghana.
The interventions include training latrine artisans to build skills in several low cost but improved sanitation technology options for improved household latrines.
Touching on the training for the artisans, Madam Nyaku pointed out that Wa Municipality in Upper West as well as Bongo and Kassena Districts in the Upper East were the areas the training was held.
A Chief Environmental Health Officer, Rita Kamina who stood-in for Regional Environmental Health Officer observed that Jirapa has become very promising in ending open defecation in the Upper West Region.
She emphasized: “This effort deserves the support of all ‘Jeribeles’, the people of Jirapa Municipality.
The 4th edition of the Upper West Regional ODF league table was also unveiled as part of the activities marking the 2019 World Toilet Day.
Nandom District is in the incontestable lead followed by Lawra with Wa West District occupying the third position.
Jirapa Municipality was outstanding in this year’s (2019) performance, out of the 49 communities it entered, 45 achieved ODF status. Jirapa has moved two steps up, from 8th position last year to 6th place in the 2019 rankings.
Wa Municipality is the first from the bottom out of the eleven districts with only 13 ODF communities to its credit and garnering total ODF score of 16.
Some school children acted a play on the need for communities to uphold good sanitation to keep themselves healthy.
Awards were presented to individuals, communities and organizations for their role in the WASH sector.
They include: Madam Rita Kamina, Samuel Adjei Nimoh, Tahiru Lukman, Martin Dery, Abdul Karim St. Francis Junior High-Jirapa and CDA-Ghana.
The Government of Ghana, WaterAid, SNV, ProNet North, CDA-Ghana, YOVI Ghana and UNICEF among others collaborated to mark the 2019 World Toilet Day which was “Leaving No One Behind”.
Story filed by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo