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Ghana Can No Longer Tolerate Open Defecation – Barton-Odro   
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First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Ebo Barton-Odro says Ghana can no longer tolerate open defecation under any excuse.

According to him, the country cannot win the fight against infectious diseases if it does not step up the pace to address problems associated with safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic health care.

He said Ghana has for the past years taken issues of sanitation and hygiene for granted, they have probably “done more to increase human life span than any kind of drug or surgery”.

“No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improves health than the sanitation revolution triggered by the invention of the toilet. But it did not go far enough. It only reached one-third of the world and we cannot reduce poverty without solving water and sanitation problems. When Peru had a cholera outbreak in 1991, losses from tourism and agriculture revenue were three times greater than the total amount of money spent on sanitation in the previous decade. Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering,” he noted.

Hon. Barton-Odro made this observation at the ongoing two-day capacity building workshop organised by the Parliamentary Press Corps on the menace of open defecation. It is taking place at Cape Coast in the Central Region.

The event is under the theme “Open defecation – A menace in Ghana”. It is being sponsored by UNICEF.

Ghana placed second in the 2015 Cholera ranking in West Africa with 28,944 cases and 247 deaths.

The statistics, according to the First Deputy Speaker who is also the MP for Cape Coast North is worrying, stressing that it was about time to accelerate efforts at tackling the menace.

“When one hears the unwillingness to stop open defecation, it is worrying. This disposal of fecal matter through inappropriate ways leads to incidents of sanitation-related risks, including cholera, dysentery, which have socio-economic consequences on households, making them fall prey to cholera and other diseases.

“If countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso could surpass Ghana in terms of sanitation ranking, then Ghana needs to step up efforts to keep the country clean,” he added.

Chief of WASH, David Duncan says with the slow pace at which the country is addressing its sanitation challenges, it will take Ghana 500 years to be declared open defecation free nations.

Central Regional Minister, Kweku Ricket-Hagan says there is the need to quicken efforts at addressing sanitation challenges, stressing that it is a collective responsibility for all Ghanaians to ensure an open defecation free society.

The workshop brought together several groups and individuals for a collective debate around the issue of sanitation which is expected to bring in the necessary momentum to address the challenge of open defecation.
Source: kasapafmonline.com

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