The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has called on the government to move its focus on Sanitation and Water from basic services to “Safely Managed’ services.
Ms. Basilia Nanbigne, the Executive Secretary of CONIWAS made the call when the Coalition presented a paper to the government on its calls for urgent action by the government to achieve universal access to Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
The presentation was their contribution to Ghana’s position on WASH to be presented at the upcoming UN 2023 Water conference to be held between March 22 to 24, 2023 in New York.
The conference would mark the midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028).
She said the focus should be on “Safely Managed” while dealing with equity and inclusion to address inequalities guiding the water supply.
She said in practical terms, it required the government to begin a programme to bring water supply closer to the premises, building on existing boreholes, and putting safely managed statistics at the front burner in the national discourse.
She said it also involves addressing the entire sanitation value chain beyond the provision of improved household toilets.
Ms. Nanbigne also called for a deliberate effort to universalize institutional WASH (Health Facilities and Schools).
She indicated that all investments for WASH in communities must include the mandatory provision of WASH to schools, in consultation with teachers, parents, and the Ghana Education Service.
The CONIWAS Executive Secretary added that to achieve this goal, a comprehensive assessment of gaps in WASH in schools and in the health system should be conducted as a matter of urgency to complement data available for schools and health facilities through the Education Management Information System (EMIS) and the District Health Information Management System (DHIMS) respectively.
Other issues raised by CONIWAS cover the need for the sector ministry to engage more on climate change, gender equity and equality, and human rights to WASH.
Others were the need for the government to develop Ghana Presidential Compact for WASH, and approve the National Sanitation Authority immediately.
She also called for comprehensive sector reforms that address institutional, regulatory, human resource, governance, funding, and technological aspects of WASH.