A Policy dialogue which seeks to offer platform for stakeholders to discuss the results of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Disaster Prone Communities (DPC) in Ghana have been held in Accra.

The WASH in DPC which began in 2014 and ended in 2017 also aim at addressing shocks occasioned by extreme weather events particularly flooding on WASH facilities by providing durable water supply solutions to prevent the contamination of water supply sources.

It also seek to provide resilient and durable sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices in the disaster prone communities to prevent potential health impact and after floods as well as assist communities to live normal lives after disasters.

The dialogue brought together officials from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, National Disaster Management Organization, Ghana Education Service, Coalition of NGO’s in Water and Sanitation and the United Nations Agencies.

At the opening of the dialogue Ms Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, United Nations Resident Coordinator, in a speech read on her behalf noted that around the world including Ghana, floods, drought and other extreme weather are being made worse by climate disruption.

Ms Lopez –Ekra noted that floods in particular are one of the most common type of natural disaster in the country and one of the most harmful to people and property.

“Global warming is shifting rainfall patterns, making heavy rain more frequent in many areas of the country, In addition, human alternation of the land and the destruction of natural protective system are putting communities at greater risk of experiencing destructive and costly floods.”

She said because of floods, precious lives are lost, crops are ruined and properties including schools and hospital are damaged.

According to her, the great injustice of the climate crises was that its effects fell most on those least responsible for it and it was the most vulnerable that get hurt first.

She was said there was a lot that could be done to ensure that when floods occur, the resilience of communities was strengthened to ensure that one disaster did not lead to another.

“This is what the Joint UN Programme on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Disaster prone Communities in the Northern Region of Ghana which was implemented from 2014 and 2017 sought to achieved.”

She said the WASH in DPC over the years which benefited over 300,000 people would be replicated and lessons leant would be shared with other communities.

Ms Lopez-Ekra commended Global Affairs Canada for sponsoring the WASH in DPC over the period.

Ms Suzy Abaidoo, WASH Programmes Officer, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) said the ministry was developing a new National Water Policy to replace the old one which was developed in 2007.

Ms Abaidoo was optimistic that by the second quarter of 2021, the Ministry would be ready with the draft policy.
She said the review of the National Water Policy would reflect the current global, Africa Regional and national developmental discourse.

Mr. Kweku Quansah, Deputy Director, Environmental Health and Sanitation Director, MSWR stressed the need for the provision of sustained services in the midst of increasing population.

Mr. Quansah said the MSWR was also developing a new Environmental Sanitation Policy.

The WASH in DPC Programme has led to significant improvement in 265 targeted communities and benefitted 323,416 people through the construction of flood resilient water supply facilities in communities and flood resilient institutional sanitation facilities in 222 schools.

The programme evaluation recounted significant achievements and same required a follow up so that beneficiaries could reap the full benefits of facilities and services.

Stakeholders are expected to come out with an agreed set of policy relevant messages to be considered by the MSWR by ensuring that resilience of WASH programme is captured in the review discussions.

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