5m Ghanaians Defecate In Open Daily

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO)/UNICEF JMP 2010 indicate that about five million people in Ghana defecate in the open every day as of the end of 2010. With the annual growth of one per cent point, it will take 40 years to enable the country to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of 54 per cent. In addition, more than 5,000 children die yearly due to sanitation related diseases. This was made known by the Executive Secretary of the Coalition of non-governmental organization (NGOs) in the water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS), Mr. Benjamim Arthur, at a media engagement in Accra last Tuesday. The media engagement was to advocate enhanced strategies in improving the collection, management and reporting of water, sanitation and hygiene related issues in the media. The Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank also estimates that Ghana loses about $240 million annually in terms of health in labour and productivity caused by inadequate sanitation and hygiene services. He noted that the issue of the country not having the adequate well-engineered facilities for treating and managing faeces was worrying since the raw faeces was always dumped in water bodies, drains and bushes. A Communication Educator and consultant, Dr. Doris Yaa Dartey, stressed the need for the government to intensify efforts to clean up Ghana, adding that the county could not be branded well if it continued to be very filthy. Dr. Messan Mawugbe, the founder of the Centre for Media Analysis, who gave some statistics on media reportage on water, sanitation and hygiene issues in the two state-owned print media houses advised civil society organizations to give the media a central role to play in the promotion of such issues.