Mr George Yorke, Head of policy advocacy and campaign for WaterAid Ghana, on Tuesday urged political parties to prioritize Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues when voted into office on December 7.
This, he said, was necessary as Ghana needed to invest more funds and effort to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene accessible to Ghanaians by 2030.
He said this at a forum organized by WaterAid and the Alliance for WASH Advocacy in Accra to create a platform for political parties to share how they intended to tackle WASH issues when elected into power.
“We have just ten years to achieve this, but looking at where we are as a country, if we don’t change our strategy and commit more funding to WASH activities, we may not attain the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) six,” he said.
The SDG six enjoins nations to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Mr Yorke said considering the WASH challenges citizens faced, there was a need for the government to improve the release of funds which must be timely and adequate for the implementation of WASH strategies.
Commenting on the access to safe water in Ghana, he said although it was adequate, it was difficult to tell the quality of water people used.
“We need to do a water quality test at least once in every year, but we hardly do this in Ghana, so presently, we are not sure of the type or safety of water people are using now,” he said.
Mr Yorke said handling sanitation issue was a great challenge for the nation as presently about 21 per cent of the populace defecated openly which may make it difficult for Ghana to ensure universal access to WASH.
He called for an annual budget allocation to ensure sustainable funding for WASH activities in all parts of the country.
Mr Kwadwo Afari Yeboah, a policy analyst, People’s National Convention (PNC), said the party had observed that the WASH sector was confronted with many challenges because issues on water and sanitation were completely detached from housing policies.
He said WASH must be incorporated in all aspects of development and called for a national discussion on best ways to improve sanitation for all.
“There must be policies to ensure that people do not build houses in a place they cannot have access to water, and there must also be a law to hold persons who build houses without toilets accountable,” he said.
Citizen Ato Dadzie, General Secretary of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), said the party incorporated WASH into its manifesto and was poised to ensure an effective WASH sector when voted into power.
Mr Swanzy Degraft, a Communications Member of the Ghana Union Movement (GUM), said the party intended to bring back the town council system as a means to keep the nation clean when elected into power.
He said GUM would also mobilize funding internally and externally to improve access to water in all parts of the country.
Nii Afotey Botwe, Chief of Otinnor Nungua, called on Ghanaians to contribute their quota to nation-building.
He said citizens must not leave the development of the nation in the hands of political parties.