toilet
toilet

“We want our people and institutions to understand that the moment somebody practices open defecation everybody’s life is endangered,” Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Local Government, said during the launch of World Toilet Day in Accra on Monday.

Alhaji Dauda, whose speech was read by Mr Kwaku Quansah, Chief Environment and Health Technologist at the Ministry, said a vast majority of the population still practice open defecation or did not have access to improved toilet.

The 2016 Toilet Day, is on the general theme: “Stop open defecation, own a household toilet now”.

He said as part of this year’s celebrations, which would be climaxed on Saturday November 19 at Bolgatanga Main Lorry Station in the Upper East Region, week-long activities aimed at emphasizing the importance and the need for the citizenry to own and use toilets has been planned.

Alhaji Duada explained that World Toilet Day has been set aside by the United Nations for countries to undertake various advocacy and awareness raising activities to remind citizens of the need to own and use hygienic toilets in their homes.

He said with this year’s toilet day commemoration, authorities were aiming at reaching out to low income urban communities and mobilise a bigger mass of people to support the toilet campaign.

“We expect to reach 1,000 people directly and more than five million people indirectly through the media and publicity materials. Our target audience for the event will be the community members.

He said the lack of toilet facilities in homes and schools, compound the sanitation challenges confronting the country, saying that environmental challenges facing Ghana were fast becoming endemic, therefore the urgent need to decisively deal with them since they have socio economic and public health implications on the development of the nation.

He said with the support of all, the introduction of the national Sanitation Day campaign in 2014 helped control the outbreak of cholera that affected 28, 975 people and claimed 243 lives in that year.

“We worked so hard that in 2016 we expected no cases will be recorded. Unfortunately, there is a resurgence of the disease in the Central Region recording 364 cases with no deaths,” the Minister said.

He said Ghana could also not achieved the MDG target for access to improved household toilets of 54 per cent by the end of 2015 and that with the ambitious SDG target for sanitation of 100 per cent by 2030, it behoved on all to strive harder to achieve it, since sanitation was a shared responsibility.

Also, Alhaji Dauda said because Ghana was already working towards the vision of health for all by 2025, sanitation should massively improve before that target could be achieved.

He said Government was still committed to eliminating the dumping of faecal waste into water bodies, drains and open spaces which poses serious public health consequences, and that the Ministry in partnership with the private sector and development partners was constructing treatment and disposal facilities across the country.

He said also under the Greater Accra Metropolitan area Water and Sanitation Project, all landlords would be assisted to own toilets within their premises.

“It is expected that by the end of 2018, a total number of toilets in the GAMA project communities should be increased by 10,000. Additionally, 230 institutional toilets will be provided to selected basic schools within the project area,” He noted.

The Minister however requested all MMDAs to submit their roadmap for eradicating open defecation between now and 2030 by January 2017 to help in planning and ensuring that the national targets were met.

He thanked the media for its growing interest in sanitation issues in recent times and urged media personnel to continue to monitor stated commitments, especially at the districts level.

Other activities earmarked for the celebration of the day include float in selected principal streets in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and a durbar at the Madina market, a mini conference of the Ghana Institute of Engineers and a “What-do-you- know” quiz competition among selected Junior High Schools.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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