Local gov’t minister pleads attitudinal change to tackle poor sanitation

Local Government Minister, Julius Debrah, says the general public must take some of the blame for the country’s appalling sanitation problem, insisting Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are not the only culprits..

Speaking to Joy News’ Francisca Kakra Forson Thursday, the Minister said ‘no matter what we do at officialdom some of the issues related to health and sanitation are attitudinal’, and called for an equal measure of attention to what the public can also do, to solve poor sanitation problems that have engulfed the country, especially the capital, Greater Accra.

Mr. Debrah was reacting to an upsurge of cholera cases that has hit the region over month.

As at Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 15 cholera patients are reported dead, out of about 200 new cases in the Accra Metropolis.

Over the last one month, the Greater Accra region has recorded a total of 878 cholera cases with the metropolis alone recording 604 of the cases and eight deaths.

Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo reported on Tuesday that as at 5 p.m. Tuesday, the Regional Health Directorate had compiled130 cases from health facilities in the metropolis.

The surge of cholera, which is caused by ingesting food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria that thrive in unsanitary conditions, has been blamed on a lack of proper waste disposal mechanisms in the Accra metropolis.

On the website of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), it admits ‘the state of sanitation in Accra is currently very unsatisfactory since it is characterised by choked drains, indiscriminate waste disposal and uncollected refuse in central waste containers to mention just a few.’

Mr Debrah also agrees with AMA’s own description of the situation.

‘It [sanitation] isn’t the way we would have loved to have it. This is largely due to inaction on the part of officialdom and the citizenry as well’, he reiterated in the interview with Francisca.

He however, debunked suggestions that AMA being utterly inefficient in discharging its mandate.

The Local Government Act (Act 564) mandates the AMA to manage water and sanitation concerns in the metropolis.

Mr Debrah, however, insists, it is wrong to say AMA is not delivering on its mandate. ‘You can’t just put it bluntly like that. You need to establish the basis to enable you form the conclusion’.

‘Within some of the jurisdiction [of AMA], the city authorities work through contractors. They have more or less outsourced the collection of refuse to private entitiesSo within some of the areas, it’s not the AMA that is supposed to lift [the wastes]’, the Local Government Minister explained.

However, in the short term, Mr Debrah says the Sonitra and Nsumia landfill projects are on course to address waste disposal challenges facing Accra. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | George Nyavor | [email protected]

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