The Bongo District Assembly in the Upper East Region has reaffirmed its commitment to ending open defecation across all communities in the District by 2019.
In this regard, the Assembly re-launched a campaign against open defecation with a pledge to reward Assembly members who would work hard to ensure that their electoral areas were declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) by the year 2019.
The re-launch brought together major stakeholders in the District such as Assembly members, unit committee members, traditional rulers, development partners including UNICEF-Ghana and Water Aid Ghana.
Mr Peter Ayamga Ayinbisa, the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Bongo who made the pledge, added that more development projects such as schools and health facilities would go to electoral areas that would be declared ODF by 2019.
The DCE disclosed that the Assembly had made efforts to finalize a draft sanitation by-laws for approval to enable it offer stiffer punishments to sanitation offenders.
He used the occasion to commend Naba Baba Salifu Aleemyarum, Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area and his elders for their efforts in implementing the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in some communities, and said access to potable water and good sanitation were part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were of major concern to the District.
The DCE expressed regret that only 29 out of 168 communities in the District had been declared ODF, adding that the Assembly had collaborated with development agencies including UNICEF Ghana, Water Aid Ghana and USAID SPRING to improve sanitation.
Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister, commended UNICEF-Ghana, Water Aid Ghana and USAID SPRING and other development partners for collaborating with the Government to implement the CLTS project in all the 15 Municipal and District Assemblies in the Region towards achieving ODF status in communities by the end of the year 2019.
He noted that 75 per cent of the population in the Region practiced Open defecation, a situation which could increase preventable diseases like malaria and cholera.
The Regional Minister commended the Bongo District for implementing the CLTS project and urged the remaining Municipal and District Assemblies to emulate the Bongo District to help end the menace.
“The Urban Sanitation model” which is being piloted in the Tamale Metro, Ashiaman and the Ho Municipals by the Government through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources would be replicated throughout the country in due course to help address the WASH challenges in the country,” he added.