Create more awareness on sanitation – Media urged

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The Hope for Future Generation (HFFG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has called on the media to create more awareness on sanitation and hygiene, especially on the effects of open defecation.wpid-sanitation.jpg

It said, in this way, the media would be complementing the efforts of NGOs in influencing the behavioural change of the people towards proper sanitation in the country.

Mr James Ankwanda, Project Co-ordinator of Hope for Future Generation, made the call in a day?s media interaction on the theme; ?Achieving Open Defecation-Free and Clean Communities for All: A call to Action.?

The NGO is one of the partners of the Ghana-Netherlands WASH Programme (GNWP) responsible for implementing strategies and activities to reduce by up to 70 per cent, the practice of open defecation in five metropolitan/municipal areas in Ghana.

The strategies are being undertaken in Cape Coast, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem, Ga South, Ga West and Ga Central.

Mr Ankwanda said in response to the myriad of water, sanitation and hygiene problems that confronted urban communities in Ghana, the HFFG conducted an action research in the five metropolitan and municipal areas between January and April 2014.

?The research found, among other things, that the practice of open defecation is prevalent in all the five areas and concluded that urgent concerted action is required to create healthy, clean and open defecation-free communities,? he said.

He said improved sanitation was important not only to human health, but also for economic and social reasons, adding that; ?globally, over 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper toilet facilities.?

?As a result, these people resort to the practice of open defecation and that the practice leads to the prevalence of faecally-transmitted diseases like diarrhea, which kills an average of 6,000 people per day (1.8 million people annually), 90 per cent of whom are children under the age of five.?

Mr Ankwanda said the 2010 Population and Housing Census indicated that over 23 per cent of Ghanaians practiced open defecation and that it was estimated that poor sanitation cost Ghana 290 million dollars each year.

He said it was imperative that efforts were intensified to improve the hygiene and sanitation conditions of the country through sustainable access to household toilets.

Mr Ankwanda said there should be proper management of faecal matter, enforcement of sanitation by-laws and adoption of hygienic practices by all, especially by the poorest and most vulnerable groups.

?We at HFFG welcome the introduction of the National Sanitation Day by Government and commend the actions by various local, district, regional and national stakeholders for welcoming this novelty in a collective bid to tackle the appalling sanitation situation of the country,? he said.

He called on the media, metropolitan/municipal/district assemblies, policymakers, environmental health departments, public health professionals, landlords and the Ghana Education Service among others to work in a concerted manner to ensure the health of current and future generations.

GNA

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