World Toilet Day: Strengthen enforcement activities on open defecation MMDAs told

BY: Philip Boateng Kessie
Mr Michael Gyato, Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources,  launching the 2018 World Toilet Day. Pictures: EDNA ADU-SERWAA
Mr Michael Gyato, Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, launching the 2018 World Toilet Day. Pictures: EDNA ADU-SERWAA

The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has asked the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to strengthen their enforcement activities against open defecation.

The Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Micheal Gyato, who made the call, said the role of the MMDAs in ending open defecation must begin with the enforcement of stringent compliance laws which required all households to have toilet facilities.

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“I want to urge the MMDAs to go the extra mile to enforce laws on open defecation and ensure the availability of household toilets in their areas of jurisdiction,” he stressed.

Mr Gyato was addressing a durbar to commemorate World Toilet Day yesterday at Jamestown in Accra.

World Toilet Day


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World Toilet Day is an international observance commemorated in 139 member states of the United Nations on November 19 each year.

The theme chosen for this year’s global celebration was: “When nature calls”, and in Ghana the focus was on how to halt the annual cholera outbreaks in parts of the country and the need to adopt appropriate means to deal with the situation.

The celebration also placed emphasis on how to discharge liquid waste in a dignified manner, without causing harm to individuals.

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The durbar to mark the day was attended by the CEO of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah; some traditional leaders of the Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area, students of selected schools in the Jamestown area, as well as civil society organisations in the sanitation sector.

Statistics

Mr Gyato said according to data on housing, only 15 per cent of Ghanaians currently had access to toilet facilities in their homes, while an estimated 35 per cent of urban dwellers patronised public toilet facilities.

He added that a staggering 19 per cent of the population defecated in the open.

Mr Gyato stressed that the data provided a strong reason the country needed to show a strong commitment to the fight against open defecation.

Government interventions

In his address, Mr Sowah said the celebration presented a perfect opportunity for the country to reflect on the journey to fighting open defecation.

He said the government, for its part, had introduced measures, including the provision of toilet facilities in cluster schools, to help fight the menace and prevent the possible outbreak of cholera and other diseases.

He said it was also supporting households to build their own toilet facilities and called for collective efforts by all to end open defecation in the country.

“The government wants to end open defecation and so we have decided to offer 70 per cent financial support to households which are ready to construct toilets.

“We don’t want a situation where people found indulging in open defecation will give the excuse that there are no toilets in their homes,” he said.

The Chairperson for the occasion, Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, a media consultant, called for behavioural change among the public in the quest to end open defecation.

She also called on traditional authorities to throw their weight behind the fight to end open defecation.