The Nandom District Assembly in partnership with Netherland Development Organisation (SNV) on Monday celebrated World Toilet Day in Nandom in the Upper West Region, highlighting the worsening sanitation situation in Ghana.
The day brought to the fore deteriorating sanitation conditions in local communities, districts and towns, which estimated 24.5 million Ghanaians as not having access to safe and clean toilets.
It also projected that 5.5 million people representing 19 percent of Ghana’s population practice open defecation, which promoted faecal-related diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid.
Mrs Theresa Swanzy-Baffoe, WASH Advisor at SNV, highlighted the need for households to have toilets since it saves lives, adding that human waste spreads killer diseases.
In spite of the benefits of owning toilets, she said, it was regrettable that 4.5 billion people globally lived without a household toilet that safely disposes off their waste.
SNV is implementing the Voice for Change Partnership initiative as part of efforts to ensure existing institutional structures are supported through capacity building and advocacy.
The Voice for Change Partnership, which currently operates in eight districts including Nandom, seeks to advocate for increased support including increased funding for the sanitation sector.
This, Mrs Swanzy-Baffoe said, had enabled 163,500 to gain access to sanitation facilities.
“I’m delighted to say that since its inception in Nandom, 84 communities have been declared ODF [Open Defaecation Free],” she said.
“Due to the exceptional performance of the District…further funding was sought to support the District achieve the country’s first District-wide ODF”.
The Nandom District Chief Executive, Mr Thaddeus Arkum Aasoglenang, said the government has introduced a number of initiatives to tackle the poor sanitation situation in the country.
He cited for example the establishment of national sanitation authority, sanitation fund and the one toilet policy as well as a directive to local government authorities to ensure that each house has a toilet.
Other initiatives includes a day set aside by the Attorney-General and the Sanitation Ministry to try sanitation offences, appointment of sanitation ambassadors and establishment of national sanitation brigade to enforce sanitation laws.
“I can assure you that some of these initiatives are being implemented both nationally and locally,” Mr Aasoglenang said.
He commended SNV for assisting Nandom District to achieve 91 percent ODF and moved from that mark in July to a higher score of 96 percent in October 2018, making Nandom the lead district in ODF in Ghana.
He said the Assembly has identified 303 households without toilets and called on the landlords to take action, adding: “I am happy to say that some of them are complying”.
“The District is poised to become the first district to achieve 100 percent ODF,” he said, and called on stakeholders to encourage behavioural change in order to end open defaecation, which is deemed extremely harmful to public health.
He also urged households without toilets to acquire some toilets; else, the law would catch up with them.
Available statistics show only 15 percent of Ghana’s population have access to safely managed toilet, while 26.9 percent have access to safely managed water sources.
An estimated 21 million Ghanaians use a drinking water source that can be contaminated with faeces
Each year, 19th November is set aside to take action to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030 to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: sanitation and water, which seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
The Day is dedicated to sensitize community members on the relevance of WASH interventions.