Residents of Tamale have been urged to embrace efforts at eradicating open defecation in the metropolis by acquiring and using household toilet facilities.
Mr Sule Salifu, Metropolitan Chief Executive of Tamale, who made the call, said the Assembly had put in place various schemes to support residents to own household latrines and urged them to take advantage of the available facilities to ensure improved sanitation practices in the area.
He was speaking at a sanitation sales bazaar organised by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an international non-governmental organisation, in partnership with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly as part of activities to mark this year’s World Toilet Day.
The sanitation sales bazaar was held at Dungu, a suburb of Tamale, where various household toilet types were exhibited by sanitation entrepreneurs, where residents interacted to seek their services in addressing their household toilet and general sanitation needs.
The sanitation entrepreneurs, who exhibited their products during the sales bazaar, included; Comsan Biotech, Sama Sama, Hamdans Biotech, K.D Construction, Wekem Agencies, Dais Multi and Super Tech.
A 10 per cent discount was offered to residents, who purchased toilets at the bazaar to enable households to acquire them to end open defecation in the area, while the exhibitors offered various household toilet facilities with flexible payment plans to residents.
The event formed part of CRS Urban WASH and Resilience Project implemented in partnership with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Sagnarigu Municipal Assembly, and Ghana Water Company Limited to address water security and sanitation challenges for improved resilience, health, and well-being of children and adults in Greater Tamale.
The World Toilet Day is celebrated annually on November 19, to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crises and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Six (6), which promises sanitation for all by 2030.
Mr Salifu said the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly had promulgated by-laws to make household latrines compulsory to ensure dignity for residents, adding “The law mandates every household to own a toilet and stop open defecation.”
He underscored the importance of owning private household toilets and encouraged residents to take advantage of the discounted sales at the bazaar to acquire improved household toilets.
Mr Richard Ntibrey, Senior Project Officer (WASH) for CRS said open defecation and poor faecal sludge management were major sanitation challenges in urban communities, which must be addressed to ensure the well-being of urban residents.
He, therefore, encouraged members of the public “To invest in owning private household toilets. City authorities must also ensure adequate planning and funding for the sanitation systems to achieve proper faecal sludge management across the entire service chain to improve sanitation and hygiene and eliminate most health hazards.”
Mr Hamdan of Hamdans Biotech, one of the sanitation entrepreneurs at the bazaar, said their toilets were affordable because of their partnership with CRS where people were offered flexible terms of payment.
Mr Alhassan Imoro, Assembly Member for Dungu Electoral Area, expressed gratitude to CRS and the Assembly for selecting Dungu to host the bazaar, expressing hope that the interactions between residents and sanitation entrepreneurs would lead to many of them acquiring their own toilets at the discounted rates.
Madam Sumayatu Alhassan, Tamale Metropolitan Environmental Health Officer expressed hope that the event would help to reduce and or stop open defecation in the area as many households were expected to acquire their own toilets.
The CRS Urban WASH and Resilience Project had so far facilitated the construction of 505 household toilets through sanitation marketing activities, established a steering committee for the Tamale Water Fund and together with the Tamale Metropolitan and Sagnarigu Assemblies developing a citywide inclusive sanitation plan to deal with the gaps along the sanitation service chain.
Additionally, three public toilets were certified as WASH friendly as part of efforts to improve the service levels of public toilets.