With Ghana’s current rate of progress in attaining the sanitation Millennium Development Goal of 54%, Ghana is set to fall behind by 40% by 2015, says Othniel Habila, Chief of WASH, Unicef in Ghana.
Mr. Habila said this when he made a presentation on the topic, “The Sanitation Gap in Ghana” at Ghana’s 3rd Water Forum, which is ongoing in Accra.
He said for the country to speed up its rate of progress, there is the need to be clear on definition of Basic Sanitation as defined in UN’s World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 and made up of seven elements.
He listed the elements as the development and implementation of efficient household sanitation systems, improvement of sanitation in public institutions, especially in schools and promotion of safe hygiene practices.
The other elements are promotion of education and outreach focused on children, as agents of behavioural change, promotion of affordable and socially and culturally acceptable technologies and practice, development of innovative financing and partnership mechanisms and integration of sanitation into water resources management strategies in a manner which does not have negative impact on the environment.
Unicef’s WASH Chief further stated that Ghana must understand and introduce the social dimension of Open Defecation, describing it as a “Social Dilemma” and a “Tragedy of the Commons.”
“We also need to maintain the clear link with disease prevention and reduction and “We need to recognise the power of the CLTS approach,” he stated.
Mr. Othniel Habila listed urgent actions that need to be taken by the Government of Ghana as Coordination and Planning, Mobilisation, Building of Capacity, embarking on a Phased Implementation and setting up of a monitoring system.
Under these subheads he called for the ddesignation of national, regional and district CLTS coordinators and the establishment of the Regional Implementation Coordinating Committees (RICCS) and District Implementation Coordinating Committees (DICCS) for coordination, among others.
By Edmund Smith Asante