Lack of potable water has forced residents of Namemboku, a community in the East Mamprusi Municipality, to disregard the social distancing protocol by gathering in their numbers at a pit side dug along the path of a dried river in the community to fetch water.
They expressed knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic and measures instituted to contain its spread but said they would be without water throughout the day if they did not go to the pit side to wait for their turn to fetch the unclean water.
The Ghana News Agency’s observations showed that depending on what time of the day, and the number of people at the pit side, it could take an individual up to three hours to fetch one bucket of water from the pit in the community, with a population of more than a 1000 people.
Residents have testified that they, including pregnant and nursing mothers stayed late into the night at the pit side to fetch the water exposing them and their babies to mosquitoes.
Mrs Linda Dabri, a resident, who was at the pit side to fetch water, lamented to the GNA that “Because of no water, we are suffering, the whole of a day, you will not work, you will not do anything because of the water, and when you come here (pit side), you can spend more than three hours without getting even one bucket of water to go and bath or cook. Sometimes we see germs in the water but we just fetch it, cows also pass this place and drink the water, we need help.”
Mrs Elizabeth Manass, a nursing mother, who carried her baby whilst waiting for her turn to fetch the water at the pit side, said, “We sleep at this place from morning to evening, and we will not get water. We sleep here with the babies and the mosquitoes, we are begging for help.”
The lack of potable water is not only negatively impacting the daily activities and livelihoods of residents of Namemboku but it has also become a major concern for them as they must wash their hands regularly with soap under running water to keep them safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country’s COVID-19 cases jumped from two on March 12 to 4,263 cases with 378 recoveries and 22 deaths on May 09.
West Mamprusi Municipality, which shares boundaries with the East Mamprusi Municipality, has recorded two cases of the disease with one death, a situation, which calls for strict adherence to the safety precautions to prevent the spread of the disease in the area as well as to the neighbouring assemblies.
The general consensus of the residents of Namemboku was a plea to government to urgently supply them with water as directed by President Nana Akufo-Addo in line with his COVID-19’ three-month free water for all announcement.
They said as a long term solution, there is the need for government to drill boreholes in the community to guarantee them potable water all-year-round.
Mr Danladi Abdul-Nashir, East Mamprusi Municipal Chief Executive, acknowledged the challenges Namemboku residents encountered to access water assuring that as part of government’s “one million dollar per constituency initiative”, a borehole would be drilled in the community within this week to supply residents with potable water.
Mr Abdul-Nashir said during the week, additional 33 boreholes would also be drilled in a number of communities in the municipality to ensure that residents gain access to potable water to undertake their various activities as well as promote sanitation and hygiene practices.