The Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly is working to reduce the threat of open defecation to improve sanitation in the area.
According to Mr Yaw Edusei Boateng, the Public Health Engineer at the Assembly, the situation, which hitherto was a a major public health concern, had reduced drastically ovee the past few years.
According to the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service, almost half a million (449,849) households in urban areas did not have a toilet facility and were practicing open defecation.
The report said while 1.3 million households used public toilet facilities, over half of urban households practiced open defecation in the North East, representing 54.0 percent and the Savannah region representing 51.9 percent, more than five times the national urban average of 8.9 Per cent.
Many communities in the Greater Accra Region, including Teshie in the Ledzokuku Municipality, continue to practice open defecation in the streams, gutters and parts of the community, while others practiced the “wrap and throw”menace.
Mr Boateng told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project in the Greater Accra Region had helped to reduce the 40 per cent shortfall in household toilets.
He disclosed that about 4,500 subsidized household toilet facilities had been built for the residents of Teshie in the bid to reduce open defecation within the municipality.
The GAMA Sanitation and Water Project for Ghana is a World Bank grant of US$150 million to support the Government of Ghana’s efforts to increase access to improved sanitation and improved water supply in the Greater Accra Region, with emphasis on low-income communities and to strengthen management of environmental sanitation in the region.
Mr Boateng said although the GAMA project had ended, more households had expressed interest in the next phase of “Over 200 people have expressed interest in the toilet facilities for their households and will be served in the next phase of the project by the middle of November, which I believe will whip up and reduce the open defecation menace in the municipality.”
Despite the achievements, Mr Boateng stated that open defecation was still practiced in the municipality, notably in Teshie Kponkpa, near the sea and its environs.
He said although a number of public toilet facilities had been provided in the communities, some residents remained adamant about using them.
“The situation has become a tradition and has a cultural backing because they always tell us that their great grandparents practiced open defecation at the streams without problems and will continue to do the same”, he said.
The Public Health Engineer told the GNA that the Assembly would enforce the sanitation bye-laws and deal rigorously with those who flout the regulation.
“We will go hard on them, we will mount surveillance systems in the communities at dawn and arrest perpetrators, who will be arraigned for prosecution,” he cautioned.
He expressed concern that a prior exercise carried out a few years ago had resulted in political blowback and was discouraging, noting that over 18 people were arrested.
Mr Baoteng disclosed that the Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihood Improvement Project (GASSLIP), with funding from the African Development Bank, would soon begin constructing household toilets in tandem with the GAMA project.
He urged the Member of Parliament for the Municipality to help the communities build household toilets using his portion of the MP’s Common Fund in order to reduce the potential danger of open defecation in the area.