Support your environmental health units adequately to sustain the gains – Minister 

By Samuel Dodoo

Accra, July 10, GNA – Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, has called on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to adequately resource their environmental health units to enhance Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in their districts. 

They should also familiarize themselves with the sector’s policies and strategic documents such as the Ghana WASH Sector Development Programme, Environmental Sanitation Policy, and the National Water Policy to ensure better implementation. 

The others are Rain Water Harvesting Strategy Document, Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy, and Solid and Liquid Waste Management Strategies. 

Madam Alhassan said these documents were developed by the Ministry to provide guidance to MMDAs and all relevant stakeholders to enhance private sector participation in WASH service delivery at the local level. 

She made the call at the launch of the Second Baobab District WASH Awards to be held on September 13, 2024 in Accra, on the theme: “Defining the Path for Water and Sanitation as a National Development Priority.” 

The Awards sought to recognise the importance and responsibilities of the local authorities and was derived from the Local Governance Act 2016, to impose an obligation on MMDAs to fulfil their mission of improving the lives of the people. 

“This important function requires MMDAs to engage in proper planning, monitoring, and invest in a comprehensive, updated and reliable data collection for effective implementation of WASH interventions,” she stated. 

Others are effective leadership and innovation, better coordinating, increased prioritisation, improved financing, compliance and enforcement and behaviour change communication strategies. 

Madam Alhassan said despite initiatives introduced by the Government and its partners; “We are faced with challenges hence a lot to be done to achieve sanitation and water for all as enshrined in the WASH sector vision.” 

She expressed gratitude to the World Vision Ghana (WVG) and partners, Global communities, and the USAID for their game changing initiative and working together to achieve lasting improvement under the ‘Enhancing WASH Activity.’ 

Madam Laura Cristina Del Valle, the National Director of WVG, described Baobab as a tree of life, strength, versatility, adaptability and resilience hence the MMDAs were expected to demonstrate efforts towards accelerated WASH service delivery. 

She emphasised that the WVG and partners were ready to work with the MMDAs, academia and research institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector to improve sanitation in the country. 

Madam Del Valle commended the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, the National Development Planning Commission, Local Government Service, and the Planning Committee of the Baobab District WASH Awards 2024 for their efforts towards the assessment and selection of the award winners. 

Madam Florence Kuukyi, Director of the Environmental Health Unit of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, appealed to the government to upgrade all the Environmental Health Units to department status for them to have full budget of the assemblies. 

She said this would help prioritise WASH issues in the MMDAs to prevent the spread of diseases in the communities.