By Samuel Dodoo
Accra, Nov. 20, GNA – Dr Freda Akosua Prempeh, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resource has said the Ministry was committed to its flagship “Toilet for All” programme and admonished households to stop open defecation and build their own toilets.
She encouraged the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to enforce their byelaws on construction of toilets in private and public buildings.
She called on management of basic schools and healthcare facilities to ensure that toilets are provided in them and are well maintained and made accessible to all pupils, students, patients and visitors.
“School-based health teachers and healthcare workers are asked to continuously educate pupils, students, patients and visitors on proper use of these toilets.”
Dr Prempeh gave the advice in a speech at a press launch of the commemoration of the 2023 World Toilet Day on Monday, November 20 (today) on the theme: “Accelerating Change through Strategic Partnership: Every Contribution Counts.”
The theme was chosen to highlight the critical role partnership plays in the government’s efforts in increasing access to toilets in Ghana.
The purpose of the Day is to among other things break the taboo around toilets and to raise awareness on the daily struggle a staggering 3.5 billion people around the world face in accessing a basic service like toilet.
Activities planned by the Ministry include World Toilet Day Mini Community Durbar at Mpoase Community Park at Dansoman Last Stop in the Greater Accra Region, media discussions, and community sensitisation activities.
The rest are commemoration of the day by WASH stakeholders and partners across the country, statement on the floor of Parliament, and reading of sanitation messages/sermons in churches and mosques, among others
Dr Prempeh urged the media, partners, the private sector, civil society and citizens alike to help sensitise the public on the need to have a toilet in their house.
She said Ghana has made strides towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals on water and sanitation and that currently, population with access to basic drinking water services has increased from 79 per cent in 2017/2018 to 87.7 per cent in 2021.
She added that population with access to improved toilet facilities, including shared toilets has also increased from 66 per cent 80.8 per cent within the same period.
The Minister said under the Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihoods Improvement Project (GASSLIP), 5000 household toilets have been provided in the Greater Accra Region as well as 60 Institutional Toilet Facilities.
Dr Prempeh stated that the lack of access to improved toilets remained a global concern and that according to the Ghana Statistical Service, households practicing open defecation in Ghana stands at 17.7 per cent and those who have exclusive access to toilets is 25.3 per cent.
“These statistics show that there is still much to be done as the provision of these services are an important strategy for poverty reduction. It should be appreciated that lack of toilets affects the quality of life and productivity of the entire population and impacts negatively on the health of the people for example high morbidity, high mortality, poor nutrition among children, among others.
It also affects tourism, poor retention of adolescent girls in school, poor water quality, unsafe food and lack of privacy and dignity especially for women.
She said the government the Ministry has therefore, invested heavily in several projects that would help eradicate open defection and enhance safe sanitation practices for example, at the end of the GAMA Project in December, 2020, the project had delivered 48,641 improved household toilets, benefiting about 389,128 people and 406 improved and modern disability-friendly, gender sensitive institutional toilet facilities benefiting about 251,872 pupils.
The Project would also expand and rehabilitate the Asafo Sewerage System in Kumasi and provide an additional 42,000 household toilets and 129 institutional toilets in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area respectively, Dr Prempeh stated.
“I am glad to inform you that, Component One (1) of the Project will extend potable water by laying 120km of pipelines, 5,000 new service connections, reduction in non-revenue water as well the establishment of telemetry and retooling of Ghana Water Limited meter shop in Greater Kumasi,” she said.