The Bono East Regional Environmental Health Officer, Mr Gyan Lamptey has disclosed that 1,132 Communities within the Bono East Region practice Open Defecation (OD).
According to him this translate into 87% of the regional population being guilty for practicing Open Defecation in the region.
The number represents only 14% of the communities that have access to decent toilet facilities in the region.
Mr Gyan Lamptey addressing members of the Bono Regional chapter of the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODE) said only 215 out of the about 1,347 communities in the Bono East region are Open Defecation free.
Mr Gyan Lamptey admitted and regretted that their position at the league table is not the best, however, he t called on the M-CODe to intensify advocacy for people to stop the practice to help improve on good environmental sanitation in the country and prevent the outbreak of diseases.
Mr Gyan Lamptey, who made this known at the launch of the Bono Regional branch of the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODE) in Sunyani, described the situation as “worrying”.
Mr Gyan Lamptey said greater percentage of people in the Bono East region practice open defecation, saying there is the need for the collaboration of all stakeholders as well as right attitudinal change to reduce the menace to the barest minimum.
Mr Gyan Lamptey noted that open defecation is dangerous, and could cause destruction to human activities with its rampant sicknesses, including diarrhea, cholera and host of others.
He said that the menace is not only draining the economy, but also hindering the country’s growth and development, especially tourism, and encouraged the media to own the cause of championing the fight against open defecation.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, the National Convener, M-CODe, said the coalition was formed in 2018 with the objective of building the capacity of the media to contribute to the campaign against open defecation in the country.
He noted the idea was inspired by the alarming situation of open defecation in Ghana and facilitated by World Vision International.
Statistics shows that some 5.5million Ghanaians defecate outside indiscriminately without using any toilet facility on daily basis in Ghana.
Mr. Ameyibor believes the practice has serious health implications and also undermine the dignity of the people.
“As a country, it affects tourism and creates all sort of illnesses; so we felt there was the need to bring the media together, there was already a corps of passionate Journalists or reporters who were always talking about open defecation in the country but they were doing so on individual basis, so we thought why not bring these people together so that we can develop a common voice to pursue a common agenda which will now get the needed attention than individuals trying to do their own stories on open defecation.
So essentially our work as a coalition is to get the authorities on their toes, not only the political authority but everybody who is an authority, all leaders – it includes institutional heads, family heads, landlords, they are all leaders who have to act to ensure there is toilet where it is supposed to be for people to use and stop open defecation and to also contribute to dialogue in developing essential mechanisms or systems and institutions in place and to prevail on the authorities to get these things to end the menace” he added.
Mr. Yaw Attah Arhin, WASH Technical Specialist, World Vision Ghana in address said Open Defecation is one of the greatest threats to life and child wellbeing in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa.
This He said is because a UNICEF study has revealed that one gram of human faeces may contain 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs, however, it has negative consequences for health, productivity and socio-economic development.
Mr. Arhin noted that World Vision is concerned that 5.5 million people in Ghana still practice Open Defecation. This translates into approximately 17.7% of Ghana’s population, according to Population and Housing Census 2021 (PHC 2021)
Mr. Arhin brought to light a disturbing and causative factor of open defecation that is inadequate decent and affordable toilet facilities on the various highways that compel passengers to defecate in the bush during the course of their journey.
According to Mr. Arhin, It is also sad to observe that 3,600 children die every year from diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid fever when these are easily preventable with affordable and proven interventions such as the use of improved latrines and handwashing with soap under running water.
Mr. Arhin indicated that the above motivated World Vision Ghana to facilitate the formation of the M-CODe in partnership with Kings Hall Media.
Mr. Arhin Charged the Coalition to surge forward and strongly link the regional branches to field level programming of World Vision Ghana and work closely with MDAs to identify and implement innovative interventions to end open defecation in the region within a reasonable timeframe.
In a speech red by Mr Alexander Bae-Yeboah, an Assistant Director at the Bono Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) on behalf of the Regional Minister, Justina Owusu Banahene, lauded the formation of the coalition, and stressed the Council’s readiness to support their activities in the region.
The regional Minister said the work of the coalition should help to transform the lives
She further commended the journalists for showing interest and determination to partner with the civil society organizations to fight the canker in Ghana.
Mad. Justina Owusu Banahene, reiterated that government will continue to prioritize and earmarked enough funding to the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, adding that sanitation must be a pivot around which all development must evolve.
She said ending Open Defecation in the country required strong will and commitment, and asked the media to endeavour and bring issues of Open Defecation to the spotlight.
Regional Minister charged Municipal and District Assemblies and traditional authorities to enforce bye-laws on sanitation to ensure that every citizen lives in a healthy environment.
Speaking at the event at, Mr. Dannis Peprah, Bono Regional convener, made it known that the group is determined to support the crusade against open defecations in the region through a coordinated and more aggressive policy influence and public sensitization.
He said the coalition against open defecation plans to challenge institutions connected to the fight to work harder and also intensify public sensitization through community outreach programmes.
He maintained that, M-CODe in the region will go extra length to expose all notorious open defecation communities and sites in the Bono region.
Dannis Peprah is also expecting that the Members in the Bono region region will challenge relevant authorities and leaders to act by putting in place proactive measures that will kick-out factors causing open defecation and those affecting sanitation.