Stakeholders at a forum in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region have agreed that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is key to achieving Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The stakeholders, therefore, called on the government, particularly the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), and the Ghana Health Service to prioritize issues of WASH.
They should also invest in the sector to address the challenges.
WaterAid Ghana, with funding support from the Global Affairs Canada, organized the forum.
Municipal and District Chief Executives of selected Assemblies in the region, District Directors of Ghana Health Services and stakeholders in the districts attended the forum.
The forum was to enable the Bongo and the Kassena-Nankana West Districts to share with the districts a long-term strategic plan developed with the support of WaterAid Ghana and its funding partners.
The plan was to help address WASH infrastructure challenges and to improve the health status of the people.
The participants agreed that addressing the WASH infrastructure needs, particularly in the healthcare facilities, would help to fight many diseases.
It would also contribute to Ghana’s efforts at achieving the Universal Health Coverage target and the SDGs, especially goal six, which emphasizes water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Mr George C. Yorke, the Head of Policy and Campaigns, WaterAid Ghana, noted that some communities in the region did not have boreholes and the personnel of health facilities had to compete with community members for water.
Mr Yorke noted that WaterAid Ghana had over the years worked with some districts, particularly the Bongo and Kassena-Nankana West Districts, to build the capacity of health workers in the area of WASH.
He said research showed that for the districts to achieve significant gains in WASH, they needed to develop a long-term strategic plan to address the infrastructure needs, especially in the healthcare facilities.
This, he said, informed the support for the districts to develop the plan.
Ms Fauzia Aliu, Policy Officer, WaterAid Ghana, said the WaterAid Ghana supported the two districts with data and technical knowledge to develop Life Cycle Costing Approach to delivering and sustaining WASH services to a specific population.
“The strategy was developed and validated, it will not only increase awareness of the plan to all stakeholders in the region but will increase awareness of the need for a comprehensive plan towards a coordinated realization of WASH in all Healthcare facilities,” she said.
Mr Peter Ayamga Ayinbisa, the District Chief Executive for Bongo, lauded the efforts of WaterAid Ghana to improve healthcare services in the area and said the Assembly would increase its budgetary allocation to improve the WASH sector.
He said without WASH, it would be difficult for the district to achieve quality healthcare and promised to support the plan’s implementation.
The participating MDAs, including Bawku and Kassena-Nankana Municipals and Garu, Pusiga, Binduri, and Tempane Districts, learnt from the Bongo and Kassena-Nankana West Districts the processes in developing a long-term comprehensive plan to address WASH challenges.