Upper West RICCS concerned about improper disposal of faeces

Philip Tengzu, GNA

Wa, (UWR), October 20, GNA – Upper West
Regional Inter-agency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (RICCS) has
expressed concern about inappropriate disposal of liquid waste, particularly
faecal matter, which is in contrast with its campaign against Open Defecation

The committee has condemned activities of
disposing faeces and people defecating in the open environment, like pouring
faeces on farmlands, without recourse to it hazardous health implications to
people living around.

Mr Melvin Tagoe, an Engineer with the
Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), who expressed this concern at the
2019 third quarter RICCS meeting in Wa called on people to adopt proper systems
of getting rid of faeces to avoid air, soil and water pollution and prevent
diseases such as cholera.

He said Waste management agencies and the
government needed to establish a treatment plant to help to treat faeces after
dislodgment to prevent diseases.

“If you will pour it raw on the farm, then
you should allow the people to be defecating openly on the farm,” he said,
raising the issue of cholera is one of the diseases of national concern because
of its potential to breakout in into an epidemic proportion.

Last year, the Ghana Health Service issued
an alert about the possibility of cholera outbreak saying, as the rains had
started to set in at certain locations and will be getting to its peak season,
the risk for cholera outbreak was high.

The CWSA has warned that disposal of
untreated faeces in the open could infect vegetables such as cabbage and carrot
planted on farms where faeces are deposited in large quantities and also bring
out diseases like typhoid.

About 162 communities attained Open
Defecation Free (ODF) status between December 2018 and September 2019, bring
total number of ODF communities in Upper West to 695 out of 1,167 communities.

The Upper West Regional Monitoring and
Evaluation Officer of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Department
(EHSD), Mr Agambire Inusah Alhassan told the stakeholders in the Water,
Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector that efforts were made to achieve the
region-wide ODF by 2021 set for the region.

In efforts to improve regional ODF status,
EHSD in collaboration with UNICEF and Wmintuur Microfinance, are implementing
the District Sanitation Fund (DSF) project to provide loans to rural households
for construction of household latrines.

Madam Catherine Amissah, General Manager of
Mwintuur Microfinance, said GH¢ 96,462.00 was earmarked for the implementation
of the project within a three year period.

The project, which starts from 2019 to 2021
seeks to help bridge the financial gap in the implementation of the Community
Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) concept.

She said most households in the region were
willing to construct household latrines, but lacked the funding support, which
informed establishment of the DSF.

The fund, in its second year, would provide
pro-poor households with grants to aid the households construct latrines.

The DSF is currently working in 30
communities in the Wa West District out of which 77 households, according to
DSF, have applied to the Fund for loan.

But 18 qualified for the loan and eight
households so far have received loans amounting GH¢ 7,354.00.