Kpandai residents share experiences on owning household latrines

Kpandai (N/R) Residents of Tikarini and Quartape communities in the Kpandai District of the Northern Region have shared their experiences about owning household toilets.

They contend that having toilets in their homes have put money in their pockets.

They said while owning household latrines had reduced the rate of visits to health centres for cholera and typhoid treatments, they also no longer paid fines to environmental health officers because their compounds were clean, which ensured that money remained in their pockets to take care of other pressing needs.

They shared their experiences with a team of journalists, who visited their communities, to learn about how owning household latrines was impacting their lives.

The visit by the journalists, which was facilitated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), formed part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Toilet Day celebration.

World Toilet Day is celebrated every 19th November to raise awareness on the world’s high number of people living without access to safely managed sanitation.

Tikarini and Quartape communities attained open defecation free (ODF) status in September 2016, but toilet facilities in the two communities later started collapsing because they were not made of durable materials.

In their quest to move up the sanitation ladder, households in the two communities took advantage of the District Sanitation Fund, which was established with support from UNICEF amongst other partners including the Kpandai District Assembly, to access loans to construct upgraded and more resilient household latrines.

Mrs Boya Bawa, who lives at Tikarini with her family, said “We used to go to the bush to defecate. Our children could not go to the bush and just defecated around the compound.

Our environment was not healthy. We frequented health facilities for treatment. Now that the toilet is in the house, we all use it and wash our hands after defecating using the tippy-tap. Because of this, our children don’t fall sick again and that is good for our pockets.”

Mrs Bawa added that “We were always shy to lead our visitors to the bush to defecate. Now that the toilet facility is in the house, we are happy to receive visitors and proudly show them the toilets to defecate when they feel so.”

Madam Alice Nduwa, a resident of Quartape said, “When we were going to the bush to defecate, our compounds were full of houseflies, and diseases were common. That is not the case anymore.”

Another resident recounted how they often got chased by reptiles in the bush when they went to defecate, saying, “We are now free from snake bites. We now go to the toilet anytime of the day. We don’t delay it anymore over fears of snake bites.”

The Kpandai District Assembly has made significant an improvement in sanitation through the Community-Led Total Sanitation, which triggers communities to achieve ODF, and currently, the district has 190 ODF communities out of the 245 total communities in the area.

Uninkpil Jabab Ndigna, Chief of Tikarini expressed gratitude to UNICEF and the Kpandai District Assembly for their support, which had helped to keep his community clean, and said he was proud to direct visitors to the facilities to defecate.

Uninkpil Ndigna appealed to members of the community to continue to maintain their toilet facilities to keep the area clean for improved health.

Source: Ghana News Agency