The Sagnarigu Municipal Assembly in the Northern Region has taken the last position in the latest Open Defecation Free (ODF) rankings with the Tatale-Sangule and Mion districts emerging first and second on the league table respectively.
The Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, which was placed at the bottom of the first ODF league table, has been placed 27th with the second highest percentage of people who defecate in the open in the region.
An assessment of the practice of open defecation conducted by the sanitation units in the 28 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies for the past six months revealed that the Sagnarigu Municipality had the highest percentage of people engaged in open defecation, while the Tatale-Sangule and Mion districts had the least percentage of people who practised open defecation.
The second edition of the ODF league table also ranked Chereponi District, East Mamprusi Municipal and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba districts in the third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
This implies that the districts recorded a drastic reduction in open defecation with more than 60 per cent of households having their own toilets with hand washing facilities.
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At a brief ceremony in Tamale on Monday, July 30, 2018 to launch the fifth Open Defecation Free (ODF) League Table Awards, certificates were presented to the highly performing assemblies for working hard to achieve the ODF status while various stakeholders were also awarded for their immense contribution to the districts to achieve the status.
The Chief Director of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Mr Alhassan Issahaku, said the surest way of achieving ODF status in the country was not only about providing clean toilet facilities, but a change in the attitude of people.
He said as of June 2016, only five per cent of communities in the region had ODF status but currently data available indicated that about 4,538 communities representing 41 per cent of the total number of communities in the region had ODF status.
“ I would like to commend the Kpandai District Assembly and the Member of Parliament for Tatale for donating brand new motorbikes from their coffers to the Environmental Health and Sanitation Units(EHSUs) to support the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) activities in the districts” Mr Issahaku added.
He urged all MMDAs to emulate the examples and efforts of these districts and support the EHSU to achieve ODF status across the region, stating that the league table was not meant to name and shame any district, but rather to encourage them to work hard to achieve ODF status.
He also called on all stakeholders, including religious leaders, traditional leaders, MMDAs, coordinating directors and assembly members to support the fight against open defecation to improve on sanitation and hygiene in their various communities.
“Defecating in household toilets provide privacy, safety, comfort, cleanliness and respect for family. All landlords and the general public in the region are encouraged to construct and use household toilets and stop the practice of open defecation” he stressed.
For her part, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialist at UNICEF, Madam Gloria Nyemda, urged all districts to work hard so that the region could achieve an ODF status by December 2019.
The ranking, which assesses metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) on open defecation, is aimed at ensuring a positive competition among the MMDAs in the fight against open defecation. It is also intended to encourage MMDAs to implement Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).