Sanitation is key to the health, wealth and general well-being of the people, and that is why all countries give it utmost attention.
Poor sanitation has the tendency to cut back development, for which reason any move to tackle the canker makes sense.
Over the past few decades, Ghana has failed woefully in delivering sanitation to its people. The sector has not been prioritised by our governments and the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) have reneged on their responsibilities to make the environment clean.
It is a shame that a country that prides itself in being the gateway to West Africa is ranked second in Africa in open defecation, with 19 per cent of its population resorting to the practice.
Our cities and big towns are engulfed in filth, and although the authorities have tried hard to confront it, the outcomes have been nothing to write home about.
The UNICEF recently gave a damning verdict on Ghana’s waste management. In its report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global body ranked Ghana as the seventh worst country in the world with access to basic sanitation.
It is against this background that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the National Sanitation Campaign last Monday to galvanise resources, both human and material, to arrest the problem once and for all.
But this is not the first time that an attempt is being made to confront the sanitation challenge. The late Vice-President Aliu Mahama started this with his camplaign against indiscipline. In 2014, the immediate past government also launched the National Sanitation Day, under which citizens were enjoined to dedicate five hours on the first Saturday of every month to clean their environment.
Although the programme started well, the enthusiasm fizzled out, and before the Mahama government bowed out of office, it had almost died out.
The Daily Graphic believes that the current government has learnt lessons from the previous attempts and will thus not travel the path of the past.
Details of the National Sanitation Campaign appear heavily loaded and it will demand all hands on deck to achieve the desired result.
Refreshingly, the President himself has promised his all for the campaign.
He is on record to have said “ “I will not be left out of this exercise. I will be directly involved, as I intend to monitor the activities of the national campaign to ensure that its goals are attained. I will review, on a quarterly basis, with the Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation the performance of each metropolitan, municipal and district assembly and publish the results of the review.”
It is clear what the President wants to achieve with the campaign and we are clear in our minds that the government does not want to treat sanitation issues as variables.
And that is why the President has directed that all Ghanaians should clean their sorroundings every day instead of wanting to do so on a monthly basis.
The Daily Graphic will take President Akufo-Addo for his word and follow closely how he goes about implementing the lofty details of the campaign.
This country has suffered for far too long from poor sanitation and the time to end this negative tag is now.