‘Make frantic efforts to prioritise issues of SDG-6’

By
Morkporkpor Anku, GNA

Accra, Oct. 18, GNA – Madam Cecelia Dapaah,
the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, has called on colleague
ministers of sanitation and health to make frantic efforts to prioritise issues
of SDG-6 in their various countries.

She urged them to put in place local roadmaps
towards achieving them, because “we cannot afford to fail our people in
this regard”.

Madam Dapaah was speaking at the opening of a
two-day high level meeting to discuss Africa Regional efforts in achieving SDG
3 and 6 and to launch the WASH Strategy and Round II Reports in Accra.

Health and sanitation ministers and other
stakeholders in the sector participated in the conference, which was on the
theme: “Achieving SDG 6 and Safe Water for All: A Focus on Water Treatment
and WASH in Healthcare Facilities”.

The SDG 3 and 6 seek to ensure healthy lives
and promote the well-being for all at all ages and to ensure availability and
sustainable management of water and Sanitation for all by 2030.

Madam Dapaah said there was the need for
Africa to focus on achieving local sustainability so that communities could
successfully own, support and maintain their water systems to ensure quality
drinking water.

“We need to support community structures
with the required technical know-how and get them to be committed to achieving
adequate and safe water for all to improve on their health and economic
well-being,” she added.

She said Ghana had made significant progress
by increasing access to improved water supply to about 80 per cent of the
population, in addition to eliminating Guinea worm.

The Minister said, however, that in spite of
those successes, about 4,000 Ghanaian children still died annually from
diarrhoea and an additional 23 per cent suffer from stunted growth and chronic
malnutrition, which were linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Madam Dapaah said it must be emphasised that
currently five million Ghanaians still used water from unsafe sources while 10
million more remained inadequately served.

The Minister said government recognised access
to safe drinking water as a basic human right and essential to protecting
public health.

Nana Adjei Mensah, the Acting Chief Director
of Ministry of Health, said contaminated water was a risk factor for diseases
such as diarrhoea and cholera.

He said the Ministry of Health, in
collaboration with related ministries and agencies, had made some strides in
improving WASH services in health facilities to enhance the overall quality of
clinical service.

He said the Ministry had also collaborated
with UNICEF to initiate projects with an overall objective of developing a
national strategy for WASH in healthcare facilities.

He envisaged that the implementation of the
project would contribute to quality of care and enhance infection prevention.

Dr Owen Kaluwa, the WHO Country
Representative, said lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation was
one of the significant environmental risk factors to health.

He said the WHO was, therefore, working
strategically to improve health through better water, sanitation and hygiene.

“We need to form effective partnerships
in the work we have to do together to improve on water and sanitation,” he
added.

Dr Kaluwa said the participating countries
were an illustration of the collaboration and partnership needed to harness the
strengths to achieve the greater good.

GNA

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