By Florence Afriyie Mensah
Ejisu (Ash), Nov. 21, GNA – For about nine in 10 people in Ghana, sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective, Mr. Issahaku Chinnia Amidu, Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, has observed.
He said access to sanitation systems in Ghana was seriously inadequate.
The Deputy Minister advised that, “as people, our lives revolve around toilets directly or indirectly and we must take issues of toilets seriously.”
Speaking at the 2022 World Toilet Day, at Ejisu in the Ejisu Municipality of Ashanti, Mr Amidu urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to enforce their by-laws to complement all the efforts made towards ensuring clean, safe, and healthy communities in Ghana.
This, he believed, would go a long way to stop open defecation and increase access to improved household toilets.
This year’s celebration is themed “Sanitation and Groundwater” with a campaign tag “Making the Invisible Visible.”
Mr Amidu said inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes and soil, polluting the water resources underneath and the problem, however, seemed to be invisible because it happened underground unnoticed, and in the poorest most marginalized communities.
Mr. Amidu emphasized that sanitation was important in the socio-economic development of every nation, citing that it protected underground water, prevented climate change and would help in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He observed that there was a direct correlation between open defecation and socio-economic development.
A World Bank country environmental analysis conducted in Ghana showed that health effects resulting from poor water, sanitation and hygiene cost the country the equivalent of 2.1 percent of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to WHO, the indirect effects of malnutrition – to which poor water and sanitation contribute 50 percent, cost even more than the direct effects, taking the total health cost to 5.2 percent of annual GDP in Ghana.
This figure includes the value of at least 8,000 deaths of children under five caused by diarrheal disease.
Further studies demonstrate that poor water and sanitation significantly contribute to malnutrition, which leads to lower school and work productivity from impaired cognitive function and learning capacity.
Mr. Samuel Oduro Frimpong, the Ejisu Municipal Chief Executive, noted the issues of sanitation, particularly toilets, could not be underestimated.
He said the introduction of One House One Toilet under the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) Sanitation and Water Project of which Ejisu was a beneficiary had been helpful and commended the Ministry and World Bank for implementing the project.
He said in the last 12 months under the project, over 1,000 toilets had been constructed within the municipality.
Mr. Frimpong hinted that a project was set to begin in January 2023 for 15 gender-friendly water closet toilets for schools and health centres in the municipality.