A group of leading media houses seeking to push for an end to open defecation in Ghana launched their campaign here on Wednesday.
The Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) made up for media houses such as Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Daily Graphic, Multi-Media Group, Citi fm, and Ghana News Agency will advocate for national and local government authorities to put the necessary measures in place to end the menace that paints a sorry picture of Ghana.
In his keynote address, Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources Patrick Boamah announced that the government had secured a total financing of 93 million US Dollars to help eliminate Open defecation in both urban and rural areas.
Out of the amount 48 million dollars coming from the World Bank will go into financing pro-poor development projects including the provision of household and institutional toilets in the Capital to serve at least 3.7 million people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Platform (JMP) ranks Ghana seventh worst in the world for access to improved sanitation (toilets) with just about 14 percent of Ghanaians having access to basic sanitation (toilet facilities).
Available data also paints the disturbing picture of one out of every five Ghanaians defecating in the open.
“This is highly unacceptable and we need to take urgent and decisive action to reverse the trend,” the deputy minister stated.
According to him 45 million dollars from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) will be used in financing the Sustainable Rural Sanitation Project between 2017 and 2019 including the construction of 20,000 household toilets in 500 communities in six regions.
Other media houses in the coalition include Star fm in addition to the Ghana WASH Journalists Network (GWJN), Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS; Kings Hall Media and global Christian charity World Vision International.
“Even though we take it for granted, open defecation is probably one of the greatest threats to life and child wellbeing in the 21st Century, Atta Arhin, Water and Sanitation Technical Coordinator for World Vision International commented.
It was a matter of great concern, he added especially for believers in a better world for children that open defecation was being practiced by almost six million people in Ghana on daily basis.
Ghana’s population stands at around 27 million people based on projections by the Ghana Statistical Service.
It is sad that children die daily from diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and typhoid fever which are easily preventable with affordable and proven interventions such as the use of improved latrines and hand-washing with clean water and soap, said the official.
Commending the coalition for the bold initiative, Arhin urged the government to provide the leadership and strategic direction with a clear and achievable road map towards ending open defecation in the country.