Ghana is ranked among the nations engulfed in open defecation, and there are fears she may not attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) six target two, which mandate nations to end open defecation by 2030.
Mr. Emmanuel Addai, Knowledge Management Expert, Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA SWP), who made the disclosure, said across the country people were practising open defecation.
He was addressing the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) National Working Group Empowerment Summit in Accra, sponsored by World Vision Ghana.
The M-CODe Empowerment Summit forms part of the “M-CODe 2023 Anti-Open Defecation Nationwide Advocacy efforts to build the capacity of media practitioners to fight open defecation and develop and strengthen networks with strategic stakeholders.
Speaking on “The Media and Promotion of Public and Communal Toilets,” Mr. Addai, while stressing the importance of public and communal toilets, noted that a toilet facility constructed in public places was meant for transient populations.
While communal toilets serve residential communities in the absence of household toilets, they are also useful for visitors during festive occasions, stressing that the global emphasis was on household toilets.
Mr. Addai therefore urged the media to focus on and promote the construction of household toilets and not agitate for communal or public toilets.
He noted that the media should question the absence of household toilets, attack landlords for failing to provide toilets at home, and stop trumpeting the absence of communal toilets in communities.
“We must hold landlords and landladies accountable for their failure to provide households with toilets instead of attacking political leaders and the government for their failure to provide a communal toilet,” he said.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, M-CODe National Convenor, urged journalists to speak out and put the spotlight on communities notorious for open defecation.
He said the coalition needed to challenge leadership and relevant authorities at all levels to act, while calling on assembly members to desist from taking money from squatters to put up wooden structures that are inconvenient.
Mr Ameyibor said M-CODe was building alliances with strategic stakeholders, including the Regional Coordinating Council, Environmental Health Department, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, and the Department of Community Development, to revitalise advocacy against open defecation.
Other stakeholders include the Department of Gender, the National Commission for Civic Education, Regional Environmental Officers, the Environmental Protection Agency, World Vision, and civil society organisations.
Others are Regional Officers from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Sanitation, and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, among others, who work to revive and maintain the activism to alter the rules and build a society free of open defecation.
As part of national efforts to put an end to the practice, Mr. Ameyibor noted that empowerment through capacity building, connecting key players in the battle against open defecation, and developing a forum to expose communities still engaging in the practice were all important.
Other speakers include Mr. Yaw Attah Arhin, World Vision Ghana Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Technical Specialist, and Mr. Wisdom Aditsey, Tema Metropolitan Health Officer.