Open defecation in Ghana is a disgrace; we must stop joking

Renowned media consultant Dr Doris Yaa Dartey has attributed the poor sanitation in the country to the lack of enforcement by the government.

Dr Dartey revealed that the country is on its way to doom if open defecation is not tackled. She quizzes why the country should be struggling with open defecation in the current era of development and globalisation.

The Columnist for ‘The WatchWoman’ advised Ghanaians to stop joking because no amount of quotes or references will straighten the situation, if the core problems are left unsolved.

“I think as a country it’s so critical that we get sanitation right. We stop open defecation. I think in the next two years it is possible there should be no more open defecation in Ghana… I don’t understand why this country is struggling with open defecation, I don’t understand why we don’t know what to do with our waste. We must figure it out. If we don’t figure our sanitation, if we don’t figure out this open defecation matter, this country is not going anywhere, I’m so convinced about that. We can quote anything if we don’t get sanitation right we are wasting our precious lives as a nation. We must get this right and stop joking” She said.

Dr Doris Dartey indicated that it is time the bad image of the country as is being portrayed to the rest of the world changes. “That ‘Ghana is the dirtiest in Africa’ image must be brought to an end”.

“I think for behavioural change to occur one would need to use several strategies, I see this as the beginning and I’m very confident that sooner or later we will reach that critical tipping point at which we would see definite changes … so if the state of Ghana and the assemblies add enforcement to it and insist that every household must have a toilet… and it is enforced and encouraged and there is persuasion, Ghana will get to that point where the news about us on the international level would not be that they don’t have toilets in their homes… that bad image of Ghana must come to an end.

“There are a number of us in the media and in society who are championing this cause. We are ready to stop everything we are doing to champion this course to make sure that Ghana solves this problem.”

She was speaking at the ‘Follow-up training for WASH Journalists’ at Aqua Safari in Ada, organised by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources in collaboration with the GAMA Project.

The 3-day training programme saw journalists from several media houses in Accra, convene for media training on reportage of open defecation and sanitation issues in the country.

For the entire training, they received lectures on “How to report on open defecation as a journalist, the importance of data sourcing, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), etc”. Journalists were made to work together during the workshop in order to ensure participation.

Addressing the journalists at the training on Friday, Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, Former Chairman at Graphic Communications Group expressed satisfaction about the success of the program. According to her, the purpose has been achieved largely and she urged the media to play its role effectively.

“The purpose of this workshop has been achieved largely because for some years now sanitation issues especially this disgraceful matter of open defecation has not been handled well, so it is important that periodically journalists should come together and have deliberation on this subject matter and plan the way forward. During the two days here, we have collectively made definite plans and individual plans also on how we are going to tackle the reporting, the coverage of sanitation, water and especially open defecation issues in Ghana.”


Photo: Emmanuel Addai (from file)

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