GNA joins fight against open defecation

By Lydia
Kukua Asamoah/Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA

Accra, Sept. 20, GNA – The Ghana News Agency
(GNA) has expressed its commitment towards supporting the fight against open
defecation, using it nationwide platform to educate and inform the populace to
engender behavioural change.

It would use its spread across the nation and
reach across the media platforms to help the people to accept to do the right
things.

Mrs Beatrice Asamani Savage, News Editor of
the GNA, who represented the Agency at the launching of the Media Coalition
against Open Defecation (M-CODe), said it was sad that Ghana continued to hear
stories of open defecation even at these present times.

The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources
had earlier sought partnership with GNA in the fight against open defecation.

Available statistics indicate that about one
out of five Ghanaians defecate in the open, translating into an estimated 5.7
million of the population engaging in open defecation.

A UNICEF study has also revealed that one gram
of human faeces may contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000
parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs, all these having negative consequences
for health, productivity and socio-economic development.

The practice of open defecation is a direct
invitation to preventable diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid fever,
which continue to kill countless number of people and swelling the national
budget on health.

M-Code, made up of media houses including the
GNA, Ghanaian Times, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Multimedia Group, Daily
Graphic, CitiFm, and others, has therefore been launched to help inform and
educate the people to move away from the bad practice.

Mrs Savage said: “we at the Ghana News Agency
as part of our mandate do pledge to tell the positive stories of Ghana so we
are very happy to join this endeavour to transform these negative stories into
positive ones.

“On behalf of the General Manager I pledge our
support for this fight with our wide media platforms across the country to turn
the negative stories into a positive one”, she said.

Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei, Vice President of the
Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), said media houses which stood out in the
fight against open defecation as it did in an anti-galamsey drive would be
recognized during the upcoming GJA awards ceremony in October and in subsequent
ones.

“This will be a top up to the prizes for best
in Environmental Reporting and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sponsored by World
Vision”, she added.

She said open defecation was hurting tourism
promotion which was a significant revenue spinner with the potential to attract
more dollar inflows.

“Open defecation reflects the level of
environmental bankruptcy in parts of the country and the degree of indictment
on our sense of responsibility as a nation.

We must not continue to spend huge sums of
money to brand Ghana only to undermine same with open defecation.”  

Mrs Asante-Agyei said it was time to wage a
fearless war, spearheaded by the media against that “shameful practice”.

The GJA invited the district assemblies,
chiefs and community leaders to declare zero tolerance for open defecation.

GNA

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