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MMDA staff build capacity on drinking water

BY: Gilbert Mawuli Agbey
Attah Arhin — WASH Technical Specialist at World Vision Ghana
Attah Arhin — WASH Technical Specialist at World Vision Ghana

A day’s dissemination and action planning workshop on the National Drinking Water Quality Management Framework (NDWQMF) has been organised for selected staff of 16 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

The beneficiary MMDAs were drawn from four regions namely, Upper East, Upper West, Northern and North East regions. The participants from each of the MMDAs were the coordinating directors, development and planning officers, engineers and environmental health officers.

It was organised by World Vision Ghana (WVG) and Global Communities, both non-government organisations (NGOs) under the Enhancing Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (EN- WASH) activity, which is a five-year project aimed at increasing access to sustainable WASH services in the beneficiary districts.

The workshop had the objective of creating awareness of the existence of the framework for managing the quality of drinking water in Ghana, as well as equip the participants with the skill and competence to see to the operationalisation of the framework.

Background

The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources developed the NDWQMF in 2015 to improve the management of the quality of drinking water to protect the health of the public against water and sanitation-related diseases.

The NDWQMF is a proactive, risk-based approach to quality drinking water management in the country. The Water Safety Planning (WSP) approach is the primary WASH sector tool to implement the framework to identify, prioritise and mitigate critical risk across the water supply delivery chain.

Additionally, it would ensure that multiple barriers are put in place from the catchment to the point of use to effectively manage the risk associated with the exposure of contaminated drinking water to the public, thereby protecting public health.

Major issue

Speaking at the opening of the workshop last Friday, a WASH Technical Specialist at WVG, Attah Arhin, said water quality is a major issue in the country as various statistics have pointed to the contamination of water at the source point or at the household level.

He indicated that the framework was finalised to pay particular attention to water safety planning from the catchment to the household point so that along the chain, water that ultimately get to the household for consumption remains safe.

He said “the framework was primarily in response to the water quality issues at the community level such that water produced for consumption by the people will be safe and healthy as well”.

He explained that the workshop was to build the capacity of the key players in the beneficiary districts to ensure that they owned the framework and developed corresponding plans to implement the framework to improve on the quality of water within their jurisdictions.

“This training will enable the participants to have access to the framework so as to develop workable plans to ensure water safety in their respective areas,” he said, adding “ultimately, we want the quality of water to improve so that children, in particular, and others will not lose their lives as a result of drinking contaminated water”.

Dissolution of water boards

Responding to a concern by a participant on the dissolution of water boards in communities, Mr Arhin said “the name was only changed to water and sanitation teams to prevent them from being replaced by successive governments”.

He indicated that the water and sanitation management teams had even outlived their usefulness, hence the decision by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) to take over the management of community water facilities.

He urged MMDAs to prioritise WASH service deliveries in the budgeting and planning, as well as take the needed steps to seek external support towards their execution for the benefit of the people.

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