World Toilet Day marked at Mpoase in the Ablekuma West Municipality

By Samuel Dodoo, GNA

Accra, Nov. 21, GNA-This year’s World Toilet Day 2023 celebration has been marked at Mpoase in the Ablekuma West Municipality on the theme: “Accelerating Change through Strategic Partnership, Every Contribution Counts.”

It was to make sanitation for all a global development priority urging changes in both behaviour and policy on issues ranging from enhancing water management to ending open defecation.

It was also to encourage behavioural change and increase access to sanitation among the poor, along with a call to end the practice of open defecation which it deemed harmful to public health.

It was jointly organised by Global Communities, USAID, UNICEF, WaterAid, The Netherland Development Organisation, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited, and the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area – Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP).

Dr Freda Akosua Prempeh, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the annual observance of the day would go a long way towards raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation.

She also recognised the role that the development partners, civil societies, and the Metropolitan, Municipal District Assemblies play in raising awareness of this issue and called on them to approach sanitation in a much broader context includes hygiene promotion.

She said this year’s decision to mark the day at Mpoase, a low-income community, would help raise awareness and mobilize action that could save lives and described poor sanitation as a leading cause of diseases and child death.

Dr Prempeh said the government had invested heavily in projects that would help eradicate open defecation and enhance safe sanitation practices to bring about the needed change.

She said under GAMA-SWP in December 2020 48,641 improved household toilets, benefiting 389,128 people and 406 modern disabilities friendly, gender sensitive institutional toilet for schools.

“The project also expanded and rehabilitated the Asafo Sewerage System in Kumasi and provided an additional 42,000 household toilets and 129 school toilets,” she said.

The Minister said, “Key under the projects’ intervention was the introduction and use of biodigester technology in Ghana which is also largely because it is cheap and easy to install.”

She said Ghana had made strides towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals ‘6’ on water and sanitation, adding that population with access to basic drinking water services increased from 79 per cent in 2017, 2018 to 87.7 per cent in 2021.

“While population with access to improved toilet facilities, including shared toilets increased from 66 per cent to 80 per cent within the same period,” she stated.

Mr George Bray, Ablekuma West Municipal Chief Executive urged the media to promote ownership of household toilets as 19,000 households got toilets in the municipality through the campaign.

He said the Assembly continued to sensitise the people to change their character towards good sanitation.

Mr Harold Esseku, WASH Specialist of the World Bank called on the media to vigorously campaign for the promotion of household toilets to curb open defecation.