The Wa Municipality continues to languish at the bottom of the eleven (11) Municipal and District Assemblies MDAs in the Upper West Region on the Regional Open Defecation Free, (ODF), table.
Out of 86 communities, only 13 have been certified as Open Defecation Free, (ODF).
This means that 104,554 out of 107, 214 residents still live in communities that practice Open Defecation.
Meanwhile, the Jirapa Municipality has been hailed for its unmatched efforts to certify 45 out of 49 communities that were triggered as Open Defecation Free ODF.
This moved the Municipality from the 8th position to the 6th position as at 1st November this year.
54 communities out of the total 116 communities have been certified as ODF.
Nandom topped the chart with all of its 88 communities being certified as ODF.
These came to light at the Regional Celebration of the World Toilet Day at Jirapa.
The Regional ODF Table is put together by the Regional Interagency Coordinating Council on Sanitation (RICCS) along with its many collaborators to among other things measure Open Defecation in communities as well as the participation and commitment of residents and leaders in the communities to achieving ODF statuses.
In total, 724 out of 1,167 communities in the Upper West Region are ODF.
This means that a total of 183,583 residents have access to safe and sanitary toilet facilities.
In was again mentioned that access to Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) facilities increased as 38,062 Hand Washing facilities were constructed across the region.
Speaking at the launch of the Regional ODF Table, the MCE for Jirapa, Christine Bombanye Amadu said the Assembly’s commitment to the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) led to such massive improvements.
She said to maintain the gains made and improve upon it, the Assembly is would begin prosecuting sanitation offenders.
“In line with the building code of Ghana, the Assembly has taken a stance that any new building without a toilet would not be given a permit and old buildings which have no toilets would be given up to the end of December 2020 to construct them or be prosecuted. The Assembly has also initiated plans to form a Sanitation taskforce to enforce our sanitation by-laws,” she stated.
The MCE said the Jirapa Assembly is set to achieve ODF by 2020.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Chinnia Issahaku said the theme for the celebration of the World Toilet Day, “Leaving No one Behind” is apt as it creates an awareness on the need to expand access to safe toilet.
Mr. Chinnia Issahaku said government is considering reintroducing the ‘Sama Sama’ concept to tackle the country’s sanitation problems.
He expressed confidence that the country’s adoption of the Community Led Total Sanitation after the failed subsidy attempt would enable the country reach an ODF status.
He also congratulated the Nandom District on the attainment of District-wide ODF and encouraged them not relent in the sustenance of the gains made.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Ag Regional Environmental Health Officer, Freda Naatu challenged the chiefs to led the process in ensuring communities become ODF.
The Communications and Campaigns Officer of WaterAid, Yvonne Kafui Nyaku called on government to invest more in expanding access to WASH facilities.
She also challenged MMDAs across the country to also allocate enough resources to allow Environmental Health Officers undertake vigorous monitoring of the communities.
Madam Kafui Nyaku was full of praise for volunteer toilet artisans in the various communities.
She said their continuous dedication had led to the realization the ODF statuses in many communities.
As part of the day’s celebration, school pupils through a drama, demonstrated the need for proper handwashing facilities and household toilets.
Awards and Citations were presented to deserving traditional rulers, schools, environmental health staff and other persons for their roles in helping communities attain an ODF status.
Story filed by Mark Smith