Mr Daniel Mumuni, Country Representative of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an international non-governmental organization, has called on members of the public to consider the acquisition of household toilets as investments into the future rather than focus on immediate strain this may have on their incomes.
He said “people complain of the cost involved in acquiring household toilet facilities instead of considering it as an investment for their health benefits and that of their children” and advisee them not to be concerned about the cost and consider the benefits.
Mr Mumuni made the call at a sanitation bazaar, organized by CRS under its flagship Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project at Gumani, a suburb of Tamale.
The bazaar at Gumani was the first of five sanitation bazaars being organized to offer various household toilet facilities at discounted rates and with flexible payment plans to residents.
Various household toilet types were displayed by sanitation entrepreneurs where residents interacted with them (sanitation entrepreneurs) to seek their services in addressing their household toilet and general sanitation needs.
The toilets were heavily subsidised to enable households to acquire them to end open defecation in the area.
A 10 per cent discount was offered to clients or residents, who purchased toilets at the bazaar.
The event formed part of CRS Urban WASH Project, which sought to improve the health and well-being of urban residents by improving service levels at public toilets, facilitating the construction of household toilets and creating enabling environment for sanitation improvements.
In line with the project objectives, CRS has supported the rehabilitation of seven public toilets in the Tamale Metropolis and Sagnerigu Municipality and also assisted in managing solid waste at these facilities.
Mr Mumuni stated that open defecation and poor faecal sludge management were major sanitation challenges in the 21st century for urban communities, which must be addressed to ensure their well-being.
He, therefore, encouraged members of the public to consider the acquisition of household toilet facilities as an investment, which would improve their sanitation and hygiene and eliminate most health hazards.
He said “It is dehumanizing that in the 21st century, we still have people easing themselves in the open, adding, “CRS seeks to promote improved urban sanitation behaviours and also ensure the dignity of urban residents.”
Mrs Mariam Iddirsu, Sagnarigu Municipal Chief Executive, emphasized the importance of owning private household toilets and encouraged residents of Gumani to take advantage of the discounted sales at the baazar to obtain improved household toilets.
Mr Henry Gyan-Bassaw, Operations Officer at Dais Multi Limited, one of the sanitation entrepreneurs, said their toilets were affordable because of their partnership with CRS, where people are offered flexible terms of payment.
Mr Mohammed Awal, Assembly Member for Nyanshegu-Gumani Electoral Area in the Sagnarigu Municipality, said many houses in the area did not have their own toilets expressing the hope that the interactions between residents and sanitation entrepreneurs would lead to many of them acquiring their own toilets.
Mr Issah Abdulai, Environmental Health Officer of the Sagnerigu Municipal Assembly, expressed the hope that the event would help to reduce and or stop open defecation in the area as many households were expected to acquire their own toilets.
The Urban WASH Project has so far facilitated 159 household latrines, serving 1,124 beneficiaries in the Tamale Metropolis and Sagnerigu Municipality.