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Inter-ministerial taskforce to steer sanitation agenda

BY: Doreen Andoh & Ruby Delanyo Buafor
Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah (right), Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, addressing participants in the inaugural meeting of the taskforce for Environmental Sanitation. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah (right), Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, addressing participants in the inaugural meeting of the taskforce for Environmental Sanitation. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has established a special multi-ministerial and technical taskforce to direct the delivery of the government's agenda for a clean Ghana and making Accra the cleanest city in Africa.

The taskforce has representation from key ministries and assemblies with a stake in delivering sanitation and some private partners.

The ministries include Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Health; Roads and Highways; Local Government and Rural Development; Inner Cities and Zongo Development, and Tourism.

Among the other implementing partners are the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly and the Adentan Municipal Assembly.

The taskforce will operate from January 21, 2020 to January 21, 2021 and will meet on the first Tuesday of every month.

Enhancing efficient

Addressing the taskforce at its inaugural meeting in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said the taskforce would help coordinate all the efforts by stakeholder ministries to enhance efficiency and ensure acceleration in the delivery of a clean Ghana as soon as possible.

She said the taskforce was expected to also drive and operationalise the President’s vision to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa.

“We are here to set up this taskforce, made up of key ministries and technical people, that will work in close collaboration with the other relevant ministries, departments and agencies to give the direction needed for making our environment clean, especially the capital,” she said.

She said the taskforce was also expected to assess the current solid waste management challenges and propose solutions, coordinate metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to provide effective sanitation service delivery and monitor the performance of private sector service providers, vis-à-vis their contracts.

Why many ministries

Touching on some of the reasons various ministries were on board, the minister said the Ministry of Health would help deal with the problem of mentally challenged persons living on the streets and littering public places, thereby contributing to the poor sanitary conditions in the country.

“The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation will also help deal with plastic and electronic waste, as well as provide technical support to deal with waste management.

The Ministry of Roads and Highways will also help with resolving the problem of open drains and the provision of more covered drains to enhance sanitary conditions,” she said.

She said although the government, led by her ministry, had done a lot already, the sanitation challenge was overwhelming and, therefore, a close multi-sectoral collaboration had become more than necessary.

Media

Mrs Dapaah said the programme of the taskforce would largely be successful if the media, as the watchdog of society, brought their influence to bear through intensive public information and education.

She commended the media for their role in helping to get the people’s buy-in for one of her ministry’s key projects — the building of household toilets at a highly subsidised cost to end open defecation.

She mentioned the provision of waste bins at all major streets in the country, among many other interventions, as a positive move towards addressing the sanitation challenge.

“If you’ve noticed, we haven’t had any issues of cholera because we have, together with the private sector, started waste treatment,” she said.
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