Wa, May 22, GNA – Political and administrative leaderships and technocrats in the Upper West Region have set the end of December 2017 as target to attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) status for the region.
In this regard, municipal and district assemblies (MDAs) have been directed to draw a road map to ensure an effective campaign for the implementation of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) concept, which is being championed by the World-wide CLTS Foundation.
Apart from crafting the road map, the MDAs are also expected to make conscious effort to set aside funds for the implementation of the CLTS programme.
Non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders are expected to scale up technical and financial support for sanitation programmes in the region to help in the achievement of the target.
Dr Musheibu Mohammed-Alfa, Deputy Regional Minister, gave the target and the directive during the Regional CLTS institutional triggering exercise in Wa.
He said access to basic health care and improved sanitation has been a major challenge to the people of the region, adding that the lack of household and public latrines has led to many people resorting to open defecation.
Dr Mohammed-Alfa said there are 1,176 communities in the region out of which731 communities representing 62.2 per cent have been triggered with 349 of them representing 47.7 per cent achieving ODF status.
He said percentage ODF of total communities is 29.7 per cent, which he described as poor performance and called on the MDAs to double their effort and expand their communities to enable more communities to achieve ODF.
Dr Mohammed-Alfa noted that the poor environmental situation has become one of the developmental challenges affecting the wellbeing of the people and commended UNICEF and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for allocating about $ 56.6 million to the Water and Sanitation Hygiene Programme.
The programme targeted more than two million people living in open defecation communities and constructed about 200,000 latrines in 56 districts across the country.
Dr Kamal Kar, Founder and Chairman of World-wide CLTS Foundation, said nothing could be achieved without strong political will, hence, the essence of the Regional CLTS institutional triggering exercise.
This, he, said would capture the political will of the political leadership at both regional and district levels for a successful implementation of the programme.
He said the World-wide CLTS Foundation which is spearheading the worldwide campaign to end open defecation especially in countries where the practice has become a major public health concern is convinced that the meeting had stoke fire among the political leadership to achieve the 2017 Regional ODF target.
The Ghana campaign focuses on the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Volta and Central Regions where open defecation is said to be common.
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