The low sanitation rate in Ghana is a great opportunity for private sector participation in activities to reverse the situation, Prof. Chris Gordon, Director Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, University of Ghana has said.

Addressing the Four-day 28th Mole Conference organized by the water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector players in Ghana, Prof. Gordon noted on Wednesday that the opportunities available for investment were varied but real, stressing the need for the private sector to take up the challenge.

“See the opportunities and available technologies and financial resources to propel the water sector business development; Provide an interactive platform for industry players and related organizations to network and exchange information; Learn about the emerging global trends and new innovations in water based industries,” He urged.

Ghana attained Middle income status in 2010 after the rebasing of the national accounts with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita growing by 263 percent to 1,437 US Dollars in 2016 from 369 dollars in 2005.Poor sanitation however costs the country 1.30 Billion Ghana Cedis or 290 million dollars annually.

The university don intimated: “Open Defecation is a disgrace to the Nation and every child that dies of avoidable WASH related disease is an indictment on us.”

According to data by UNICEF, an average of 22.9 percent of people in Ghana do not have access to any sanitation facility (open defecation) and only 15percent use improved unshared sanitation facilities, with the lack of facilities identified as the main cause of open defecation.

“Middle Income Status should not be measured just by economic terms. We need to exhibit Middle Income, values attitudes and behaviour, for Ghana to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Accra will become the Cleanest City in Africa,” the expert argued.
Prof. Gordon therefore urged the stakeholders in the sector to promote domestic production of plants, equipment, chemicals and parts for the water sector.

In Upper East region, 89 percent of the population practice Open Defecation (highest rate in Ghana) and only three percent use unshared improved sanitation facilities.

He urged stakeholders to develop alternative financing means for the sanitation sector to enable households install improved facilities.
The expert suggested methods such as Public-Private- mix; community-based, facility development and Fund Raising, including revenue collection and risk pooling.

The MOLE Conference organized by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (CONIWAS) with support from government of Ghana and development partners is the largest gathering of sector players in the country where the previous year’s and current state of developments are assessed and plans made towards the ensuing year.

“While we seemed to be rejoicing over the MDG achievement for water, we were quickly reminded that over 60 percent of households drink from contaminated water sources

“So now, all of a sudden the party has to be paused for a deeper reflection,” Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources Joseph Kofi Adda said in his message during the opening on Tuesday.

The road to 2030, he observed now seemed so far again for Ghana to achieving safely managed water adding that the situation was tougher if sanitation was added.

Adda disclosed that government strategy was to launch a national total sanitation campaign before the end of 2017 with the hope that once the attitudes and behaviors of people towards the environment improved, things would change for the better. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh


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