M-CODe Convenor rallies support of chiefs & religious leaders to fight open defecation
The National Convenor of the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe), Francis Ameyibor, has appealed to religious and traditional leaders to play a role in the fight against open defecation in the country.
For him, religious and traditional leaders could use their influence to help change people’s behaviours towards open defecation and other unhygienic practices.
He expressed the concern that in spite of the fact that open defecation remains a major threat to people’s health, the practice continues unabated in many parts of the country.
Mr. Ameyibor made the remarks during an M-CODe Empowerment Summit in Accra last Friday.
The summit was aimed building alliances with strategic stakeholders, including the Regional Coordinating Council, Environmental Health Department, Ghana Education Service, National Commission for Civic Education, Regional Environmental Officers, the Environmental Protection Agency, World Vision, Ghana Health Service, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, and the Department of Community Development, to combat the practices of open defecation in the country.
The M-CODe Convenor also called on the government and development partners to extend the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project (SWP) to other parts of the country.
He said the GAMA project has helped many households to own toilet facilities, a feat he said, will inure to the benefit of the country.
For Mr. Ameyibor, apart from the health implications of open defecation, it was also a shameful thing to do and that “You cannot just go out and defecate.”
He said M-CODe as part of its activities to combat the practice, will be recognising communities that are doing well in fighting the menace and would also be shaming communities engaging in the practice.
“We cannot continue to defecate in the open,” he bemoaned the situation, pledging the readiness of the coalition to upscale its efforts towards the open defecation fight in the country.
Mr. Ameyivor said the coalition has established branches in other regions of the country to enable its members prioritise sanitation related issues.
Speaking at the summit, the World Vision Ghana Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Technical Specialist, Mr. Yaw Attah Arhin, expressed the concern that the country ought to have moved beyond discussing the subject of open defecation.
For him, more action was needed to end the practice in the country, urging the M-CODe to go beyond public education in their publications and also engaged the political class whose actions could help to end the practice.
“There is now the need for more action to be taken against open defecation,” Mr Arhin said, adding when decision makers are engaged, their directives could trickle down to the last community in the country.
He also stressed the need for collaboration among stakeholders to help achieve the goal of ending open defecation in the country by 2030.
For his part, the GAMA Knowledge Management Expert, Emmanuel Addai, encouraged tenants to boycott households without toilet facilities, explaining that if tenants avoided houses without toilet facilities, it would compel property owners to include toilet facilities in their households.
He said when people adhere to good hygienic practices, it would help to prevent many diseases, including cholera, diarrhea, and typhoid.
In a presentation, the Tema Metropolitan Health Officer, Wisdom Aditsey, called on all relevant stakeholders to come together to help end open defecation in the country.
He said no one entity could end open defecation menace and that bringing all stakeholders on one page would help to advance the national efforts.
He said the Tema Metropolis was working hard to ensure that open defecation becomes a thing of the past, urging the police to partner the environmental health unit to fight the practice in the country.