Tamale Unit appeals for sanitation court

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Court
Court

The Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit (EHSU) in the Tamale Metropolis has appealed for a sanitation court in the area to fast-track prosecution of residents for various sanitation offences.
Hajia Sumayatu Alhassan, Tamale Metropolitan Environmental Health and Sanitation Officer, who made the appeal, said “prosecution is key to getting residents to abide by the law, and live up to expectation when it comes to issues of sanitation” hence the appeal.
Hajia Alhassan made the appeal at a symposium in Tamale, attended by stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector.
The day’s event, organised by the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), was to discuss issues concerning Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at the sub-national level and come out with strategies to improve the situation.
She said “Sometimes, when we bring more cases and they go to court, we do not get the hearing quickly, and you know sanitation issues, they can be there today and not tomorrow, you go, and you do not even have the evidence”.
She added “If we have a sanitation court, then we are assured that from field to the court, it will be addressed quickly, and the person will serve the penalty. Then, we are good to go. If we have the court, it is going to help us a lot.”
A number of WASH sector stakeholders exhibited various WASH products including affordable types of toilet facilities during the event.
Representatives of Tamale Metropolis and Sagnarigu Municipality also presented their Citywide Sanitation Plans, which prioritised addressing open defecation, solid waste management amongst others.
The event formed part of the week-long Ghana WASH Week celebration in the Northern Region to promote greater prioritisation and behaviour change for sustainable safe drinking water and environmental sanitation.
It was also in line with target 6.1 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6), which sought to “Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.”
Hajia Alhassan said “In the last three years, the Tamale Metropolitan EHSU prosecuted 30 people for various sanitation offences adding “Just this year, we prosecuted two groups; one group comprising 13 people and another group comprising 14 people for not having household toilets as landlords. Some were awarded penalties and they went back to construct the household toilets.”
She said a lot more offences could have been prosecuted if there were dedicated courts to handle sanitation offences in the area.
She further appealed for the EHSU to be elevated to a department level to ensure that it was directly allocated some funds to support its activities to ensure high results.
Madam Beata Awinpoka Akanyani, Vice-Chairman of CONIWAS, expressed concern about poor WASH situation at facilities such as schools, health facilities amongst other public institutions and called for efforts to improve the situation.
Representatives of some NGOs in the WASH sector including Global Communities, IDE Ghana, and THFO delivered solidarity messages and pledged their continued support for efforts to improve WASH in the country.
Other activities undertaken as part of the week-long Ghana WASH Week in the northern zone included breakfast meeting with relevant government, traditional, development partners and CONIWAS members to discuss “Rural and Urban Water Supply in Northern Ghana to addressing water supply challenges, reflecting on the past, defining the future.”
Clean Ghana Walk held in Tamale on sanitation and the way to practice positive hygiene behaviours, will include radio discussions on selected WASH issues in Tamale and Wa, and hygiene and sanitation outreach at basic schools within Tamale Metro and Sagnarigu Municipality.

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