Cholera outbreak in Ghana shot up sanitation expenditure by 300 percent in 2015

Besides its toll on human life, the cholera outbreak of 2014 and 2015 had a severe financial toll on the government of Ghana, causing an overshot in expenditure for the sector, a report said here on Thursday.


The government spent 300 percent more than it had budgeted for on the sanitation sub-sector to arrest the cholera situation that had claimed 247 deaths out of 28,975 cases in all 10 regions of Ghana, with 70 percent of the cases occurring in the national capital.

choleraThe budget allocation to the Environmental Health and Sanitation Department was 54,760,000 cedis or 14.24 million U.S. dollars.

However, a tracking done by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), the largest single grouping of all local and international NGOs in Ghana’s WASH sector, revealed that as at September 2015, and amount of 229.21 million cedis or 59. 61 million dollars had been spent on the environment and sanitation sector.

According to John Eliasu Mahama, lead Consultant for CONIWAS on the budget tracking, 86 percent of this figure came from donors while 14 percent came from the Ghana government.

“Additional expenditure of about 300 percent for the sector was probably due to Government’s response to the cholera outbreak in Ghana,” Mahama indicated.

World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) Study in 2012 had revealed that Ghana lost at least 290 million dollars annually due to poor sanitation.

It also said the country scored 15 percent in national sanitation coverage against a target of 54 percent at the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target date in December 2015.

“Inadequate financing of environmental sanitation services by MMDAs (Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies), central government and low contributions from service-beneficiaries have not improved the situation,” the consultant observed.

According to the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Compact (2010), the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL ) require 65 million dollars and 54 million dollars respectively per annum to meet their investments requirements.

The report also indicated that these needs notwithstanding, government funding for the sector in general continued to be low, with donor contribution standing at 75 percent of total annual expenditure on the sector.

Nominally, Ghana’s per capita expenditure for water in 2015 was 12 cedis or 3.11 dollars, compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended 8.0 dollars per capita expenditure on the sector.

Consequently, the report said although Ghana appeared to have already exceeded the safe water MDG target for 2015, serious inequalities still existed between rural and urban, poor and rich, men and women, as well as boys and girls.

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) progress Report for 2015 estimated Ghana’s water coverage rate at 89 percent against an MDG target of 78 percent.

Government said its aim is to reach 100 percent coverage in safe water supply for the population by 2025.

Emmanuel Addai, a WASH expert, said it was important that the same level of commitment which saw the country outperforming the MDG water targets was translated into sanitation to end the scourge of sanitation-related diseases that kept springing up in the country. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

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