Ghana loses GH¢750m annually due to poor sanitation delivery

Thursday 3rd April , 2014 6:00 am

waste-collectors-pix_0Ghana is losing close to GH¢750 million per annum for poor sanitation service delivery, a 2011 World Bank Report has revealed.

The cost incurred is as a result of poor sanitation delivery arising from time spent on accessing water and sanitation facilities, deaths of both adults and children as a result of poor sanitation and girl school dropouts, among many other issues.

A programme officer at the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Mr. Kweku Quansah, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic, cited the time spent to access water “where people travel for close to one hour just to go and fetch water – dirty water. They come home with dirty water and they get sick”.

Quoting from the 2011 report of the World Bank on the “Economic impacts of poor sanitation in Ghana”, Mr. Quansah said poor sanitation cost Ghana the equivalent of $290 million annually, which, he indicated, was equal to US$12 per person in Ghana per year or 1.6 per of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

“It breaks the figure to US$19 million lost each year in access time, with each person spending almost two-and-a-half days a year finding a private place to defecate and US$54 million spent each year on health care,” he stated.

According to Mr. Quansah, the research also said US$215 million was lost each year due to premature death, with approximately 19,000 Ghanaians, including 5,100 children, dying from cholera and US$1.5 million being lost to productivity whilst people were sick or accessing health care.

He explained that more resources were lost due to the lack of access to improved water sources, although in-depth studies had not been conducted as was the case in sanitation.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development recognises improved water and environmental sanitation as critical drivers of both human and national development.

“Particularly, this impacts negatively on some of the local intervention programmes that we are implementing as a country,” Mr. Quansah said.

Credit: Graphic Online