Dutch Ambassador needs concerted efforts to address open defecation

Tamale- Mr Ron Strikker, the Netherland Ambassador to Ghana, has urged concerted efforts to address the menace of open defecation in Ghana.

He said that under the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme, the toilet building component within the Tamale Metropolis had a target of 7,000 latrines in communities by 2020 and with its current record being 2,000 latrines, there was a need to scale up efforts within the next 16 months to be able to meet the target.

He noted that voluntary compliance of residents within the Tamale Metropolis was key towards achieving the open defecation free agenda.

He said The Netherlands Government was committed to supporting Ghana to address challenges regarding sanitation.

Mr Strikker made the remarks during a field visit to the Changli Community within the Tamale Metropolis, after he and Madam Anne- Claire Dufay, Country Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ghana, paid a courtesy call on Mr Salifu Saeed, the Northern Regional Minister in Tamale.

The visit was to enable the delegation have an overview of the impact of efforts by the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly to attain its open defecation free campaign agenda.

UNICEF Ghana with financial assistance from the Embassy of The Kingdom of Netherlands is currently supporting Ghana to implement an urban sanitation project, from 2015 to 2019.

The project is being implemented at Tamale Metropolis in the Northern Region, Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region and Ho Municipality in the Volta Region; with an objective of increasing access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in communities and schools.

Mr Strikker noted that despite the fact that the Metropolitan Authorities had set out measures including prosecution, to make Tamale an open defecation free area, the participation of citizens in understanding the need to have household latrines would speed up the process of achieving that goal.

He said that having good sanitation facilities was also a matter of dignity to every citizen of every country, so it was up to the citizens to support initiatives that intend to sanitise the environment.

He said he was impressed with the results of the programme and was therefore, hopeful that all parties would work to ensure the construction of the targeted sanitation facilities by the end of 2019.

Madam Dufay lauded the Kingdom of Netherlands for supporting sanitation programmes in Ghana over the years and intimated that it was significant to reach out the target of 21,000 latrines under this initiative within the Tamale Metropolis; adding that the Government of Ghana had a vision of open defecation free society.

She said this agenda would entail one house, one toilet facility; adding that there was a need to move towards that direction and every citizen had a role to play in the effort.

Madam Dufay said UNICEF continued to be extremely committed to support the efforts that spearheaded the fight against open defecation and also promoted improved water, sanitation and hygiene in general across communities.

Mr Saeed on behalf of the Northern Region Coordinating Council (NRCC) expressed gratitude to the chiefs, landlords and assembly members and the youth of the area for supporting the initiative of fighting to end open defecation.

He said it was appropriate to have latrines in every household to protect their dignity, their rights and as well promote good health and therefore, called on private sector investors to come in as they were ready as a Metropolitan Assembly, as well as the NRCC to support them.

He said some financial flexibilities would be given to households who do not have the immediate financial strength and was hopeful that by the end of next year Tamale would be the cleanest city and every household would have toilets within.

Mr Iddrisu Musa Superior, the Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive said the purpose of a law was to regulate a system, hence not having a toilet facility in one’s house by law was a prosecutable offence.

He noted that authorities were not setting out bye-laws to harass people, but rather their priority was to support people including; finding appropriate financing measures that would help the community to develop the unique technology that helped to sanitise the environment.

Mr Musah Superior, who said with regards to enforcing the law, the Assembly would work in line with the judicial service, again added that we are currently in talks with Judicial Council to agree on a specific day in the week; so issues of sanitation will be dealt with.

Source: Ghana News Agency


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