Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA
Fumesua, (Ash), July 10, GNA – Mr. Kofi Adda, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, has asked all actors in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector to streamline and bring their activities to conform to the national implementation guidelines of the community led total sanitation (CLTS) developed by his ministry.
He said there should be no excuse for WASH sector players to side-step the national sector implementation guidelines for their own project-specific ones.
He made the call in an address read for him at the opening of the 5th national basic sanitation stock-taking forum held in Kumasi.
Mr. Adda underlined the need for stronger collaboration between the sector players and the environmental health and sanitation directorate of the ministry to ensure effective coordination and supervision of activities.
“Five years of rural sanitation model and strategy (RSMS) implementation in Ghana, learning for scaling up, now and beyond” was the theme chosen for the five-day event.
The RSMS approach seeks to eliminate the practice of open defecation and promote the use of improved latrines in communities.
It had been developed to ensure consistency of sanitation delivery services in rural communities and currently being implemented across 138 districts in the 10 regions.
The strategy had since its inception five years ago, supported over 3,000 rural communities (about 750,000 people) to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
Processes are also underway towards developing the Urban Sanitation Model and Strategy.
Mr. Adda noted that Ghana had significantly low improved sanitation levels compared to other essential services.
The improved sanitation coverage currently stands at 15 per cent. Nearly one of four households (22.9%) practice open defecation or have no toilet facility.
The practice of hand washing with soap is also low with only 24 per cent of households having hand washing facilities, and even with that, only half of these have soap and water on location.
These combined with uncontrolled disposal of fecal sludge, poor sanitation and unhygienic practices, had become major contributors to the many water and sanitation related diseases including cholera.
Mr. Adda said the government had led the development and implementation of a number of policies and strategies to address these challenges.
These include the national environmental sanitation strategy and action plan (NESSAP), District/Municipal/Metropolitan Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plan (DESSAP/MESSAP) and Strategic Environmental Sanitation Investment Plan (SIP) among others.
He encouraged the stakeholders to collaborate with the government to improve sanitation coverage.
Mr. David Duncan, an official of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), urged strong political will to address the challenges of poor sanitation, adding that, with strong commitment by all key stakeholders, Ghana could make progress and change the situation.
Mr. Tony Tsekpetse-Akuamoah, National CLTS Coordinator, said the project was an innovative way of mobilizing communities to completely eliminate open defecation.