Change your attitude towards sanitation issues - Regional Minister urges

BY: Mohammed Fugu
Mr Yidana Zakaria, North East Regional Minister, addressing the dialogue. Picture: DAVID PAA-KWASI ABLE
Mr Yidana Zakaria, North East Regional Minister, addressing the dialogue. Picture: DAVID PAA-KWASI ABLE

The North East Regional Minister, Mr Yidana Zakaria, has appealed to the people of the region to change their attitudes towards sanitation issues and keep their surroundings clean.

He said although much was being done by the government and its partners to improve the sanitation situation in the region, it was incumbent on the citizenry to play the lead role by keeping their surroundings and avoid open defecation.

He noted that the problem of poor sanitation could not be left to the government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) alone but must be a collaborative effort.

Mr Zakaria made the call at the Graphic/Zoomlion Sanitation Dialogue in Nalerigu, the North East Regional capital, yesterday.

The dialogue, organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), in collaboration with Zoomlion Ghana Limited (ZGL), was on the theme: "Keep Ghana Clean".

It brought together stakeholders from various sectors to discuss sanitation issues in the region and find sustainable practical solutions to address them.

It is the last dialogue in a series held across the 16 regions of the country and it will be climaxed with a massive clean-up exercise in Nalerigu today.

Gazette bye-laws

Addressing the participants, Mr Zakaria charged municipal and district assemblies in the region to gazette their bye-laws and ensure strict enforcement.

Doing so, he said, would help bring to order people who practised open defecation and littered the environment with impunity.

To keep the region clean, he indicated that the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and its partners had launched a sanitation campaign to embark on clean-up exercises on the first Saturday of every month.

Mr Zakaria added that the RCC had also initiated discussions with Zoomlion to start a door-to-door collection of waste in the major towns at a modest fee "because the issues of domestic waste collection and disposal are a threat to the region's sanitation management effort".

While commending the GCGL and the ZGL for initiating the campaign to address sanitation challenges across the country, he thanked the Overlord of Mamprugu, Nayiri Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai, for the keen interest he had shown in improving sanitation in the various communities.

"The Nayiri gave a three-month moratorium to households to provide toilets for members or face his wrath, and this has helped significantly in our efforts towards improved sanitation," he noted.

Creating synergy

For his part, the Senior Communications Officer of the ZGL, Mr Adams Mohammed Mahama, emphasised the need for all stakeholders to work together and create a synergy that would put sanitation issues at the top of the development agenda.

He said aside from the sanitation campaign, Zoomlion was organising sanitation fun clubs in various schools across the country to inculcate best sanitation practices in pupils and whip up their interest in sanitation issues.

More collaborations

The Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kobby Asmah, in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Sub-Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Alhassan Zakaria, called for more collaborations between the GCGL and the various assemblies to enable them to scale up the campaign to the district level.

He said the GCGL, as the leading media organisation in the country, was noted not only for churning out excellent news but also challenging the status quo and setting the national agenda.

The North East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Abubakar Abdulai, in his submission, reiterated the need for all to prioritise sanitation issues and keep their surroundings clean, saying: "Most of illnesses are sanitation related and so we must always try to keep our surroundings clean."