Lack of basic services such as potable water and sanitation ruins people’s lives and undermines development.
It is estimated that the lack of this essential service leads to the death of 500,000 children every year and costs sub-Saharan Africa more than the entire development aid the continent receives.
To help tackle the problem, and in line with efforts to help improve menstrual hygiene in schools and fight maternal mortalities in the country, WaterAid-Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to improving access to safe water and improving sanitation and hygiene in poor communities, is extending more potable water supply systems to health and educational facilities in five districts across the country.
The districts are the Wa Municipality in the Upper West Region, Bolgatanga Municipality in the Upper East Region, Tamale Metropolis in the Northern Region, and the Birim North and Kwahu Afram Plain districts, both in the Eastern Region.
The rationale behind the project, according to Mr Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed, the Country Director of WaterAid-Ghana, was to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in the project implementing areas.
He made the statement in an interview with the Daily Graphic after a closeout workshop on the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Cooperation Water Project (HWP) in Tamale in the Northern Region.
The HWP, which started in October 2012 to December 2016, was meant to support the country’s strategies in the provision of potable water to poor and marginalised people in the rural communities.
The closeout workshop brought together directors of partner organisations, coordinating directors and planners from district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies of all the implementing areas across the country.
Mr Mohammed explained that most expectant and lactating mothers often had challenges with water whenever they attended health facilities across the country for health care.
He added that making water available at health facilities would minimise the burden on expectant mothers who had to trek in search of water during labour.
“This project is just to make sure that pregnant women, who go to the clinics or the hospitals, would have access to water”, he said.
Touching on the schools, Mr Nashiru said the provision of water in schools would promote menstrual hygiene among female students.
He was of the view that most female students did not go to school during their menstrual period due to lack of water and other sanitation facilities in their schools.
According to him, with the availability of water and sanitation facilities in schools, both teachers and students, especially the female students, would be encouraged to stay in school during their menstruation.
For his part, the Project Manager of HWP, Mr Sulaiman Issah Bello, said although the project was originally designed to provide potable water for 129,800 people, the number was reviewed upwards when the project was half-way through its implementation.
He said the project was targeted at improving the sanitation facilities for 89,904 people in its operative districts but more than 150,000 people would have access to potable water by the end of the project.
He said although the project ended in December 2016 due to the significant achievement it made, it had received US$ 3.2 billion for a three-year extension starting from this year.
Mr Bello said the project was implemented in 104 communities in the beneficiary districts across the country, adding that, the project saw the building of institutional latrines for 43 schools in its area of operation.