WaterAid-Ghana has applauded government for creating a separate Ministry for Water and Sanitation and called for adequate resourcing of the Ministry to enable it live up to its mandate.

The organisation said for everyone everywhere to have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, government must consider increasing its budgetary allocation for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for a better and efficient service delivery in the country.

Madam Yvonne Kafui Nyaku, Communications and Campaign Officer for WaterAid, said this during a day’s WASH Media Advocacy Workshop in Wa.

She said globally, a total of 663 million people lacked access to clean water, adding that a vast majority of those people, specifically 552 million of them, lived in rural areas; a situation that created inequalities between rural and urban dwellers, rich and poor people as well as able and disabled persons.

Madam Nyaku said 15 per cent of Ghanaians did not have access to clean water, stressing that 29 per cent of rural hand pumps were broken down, 49 per cent performed optimally while two-third of rural savannah relied on hand dug wells.

On the global sanitation crisis, she said 2.4 billion people lived without access to improved sanitation, adding that almost one billion people still practiced open defecation; a clearest manifestation of poverty.

She said in Ghana, 85 per cent of people did not have access to toilets, 60 per cent used shared toilets, and six per cent used improved toilets while 19 per cent defecate in the open.

Madam Nyaku said climate change, urbanisation and poor maintenance of facilities were some of the factors contributing to global water and sanitation crisis.

Implication of the global water crisis, she said, was that 289,000 children less than five years died every year due to poor sanitation and diarrheal diseases.

In addition, almost 800 children die a day or one child every two minutes according to the WASHwatch 2017.

Madam Nyaku said in Ghana, 38 per cent of health facilities lacked regular access to water, basic private toilets and hand washing facilities.

The workshop provided a platform for journalists and media practitioners to learn about the WASH situation in the country and also how WaterAid and the media could work together to raise awareness about the link between WASH and development.

Dr Chaka Uzondu, Acting Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, said Ghana is a signatory to many international treaties on water, sanitation and hygiene, hence the need for media practitioners in the country to acquaint themselves with these international treaties.

He said it was only when journalists and media practitioners are well informed on these international treaties on water, sanitation and hygiene that they would be in the position to effectively hold government accountable.

GNA