Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pay for sanitation services promptly -MMDAs told

By Edmund Smith-Asante
Mr Benjamin Arthur, Executive Secretary, CONIWAS
 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies have been urged to promptly pay for services they receive in connection with sanitation and for which they are obliged by law to do.

According to the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), paying readily for what they owed was one sure way of preventing the hills of refuse dotted across the country and which, in a way, have contributed to the outbreak of cholera.

Already, the cholera outbreak has claimed over 45 lives and affected over 6,000 people in Accra alone.

In a statement issued by the coalition in reaction to the outbreak, CONIWAS has listed nine other critical measures that ought to be taken by the government in dealing with the epidemic.

The critical measures outlined by CONIWAS include increasing the number of health personnel and health supplies to affected areas, an aggressive public education and awareness creation of the disease, arousing interest on the need for hands to be washed regularly and the necessity of treating household water before drinking.

According to the coalition, an enforcement of laws that compel homes to have appropriate toilet facilities and the urgent need  to provide environmental health officers with the requisite logistical support that will help them to execute their jobs  effectively are steps the government must take to ensure proper sanitation practices.

It also urged the government to prioritise investments in sanitation, by establishing modern-day solid and liquid waste treatment in an attempt to stop all forms of open defaecation and the dumping of raw faecal matter into the sea.

Citizens were also advised to change their attitudes with regard to sanitation, adopt good hygiene practices and also be mindful of places where food are sold and eaten in public or the throwing of litter while moving in traffic.

“We cannot continue this way as a people. Urgent measures are required and CONIWAS calls on the government to act promptly. Under the circumstances, more emphasis should be placed on preventive rather than curative measures,” the statement signed by the Executive Secretary of CONIWAS, Mr Benjamin Arthur, said.

Journalists appalled by outbreak
In a related development, the Ghana Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (GWJN), a group of journalists with interest in the provision of good water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), has stated that it was appalled at the number of cholera-related deaths that have hit the country.

“These deaths and infections could have been avoided if efficient waste management procedures were made available in many communities in the country,” the group said in a statement.

The GWJN has, therefore, recommended strongly that marginalised communities be mobilised to build household latrines in order to prevent people from defaecating in the open and thereby reduce frequency in the occurrence of cholera.

“The GWJN recognises that the government has a lot to do. However, we are appealing that sanitation be made a priority and more resources allocated for sanitisation efforts.

“The activities of waste management companies must be monitored to ensure that the services they provide are efficiently executed,” the journalists urged the government.

The network commended the Vice President, Mr Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, for his recent efforts to get Accra cleared of filth and was expectant that such efforts would continue until Accra and Ghana as whole was clean.

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This was first published by the Daily Graphic on August 27, 2014

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