Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, has stated that according to available data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS), urban sanitation coverage for the country now stands at 16%, while national coverage is 11%.
The Joint Monitoring Platform, made up of UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), however puts coverage at 13% for the same period, which means only 13 out of hundred Ghanaians have access to improved sanitation.
Presenting the 2012 budget in Parliament yesterday, November 16, 2011, he said “With regard to the MDG target of halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation, the GDHS 2008 indicated that national coverage for sanitation was 11 per cent, up from 8 per cent in 2003. For urban areas, coverage increased by 1 percentage point between 2003 and 2008 to reach 16 per cent.”
The finance minister continued that sanitation coverage in rural areas was recorded at 7 per cent in 2008, from a low of 2 per cent in 2003, reiterating that the MDG target for Ghana is 53 per cent of the population using improved sanitation by 2015.
“This means that about one million, two hundred thousand people will need to have access to, or use an improved sanitation facility each year till the target date of 2015,” he said.
In relation to water coverage however, he divulged that urban water coverage increased
from 59 per cent to 62 per cent whilst rural water coverage increased from 59 per cent to 61% by the first half of 2011, indicating both were at 59% by 2010.
Although Ghana’s MDG target for water is to reach 78 per cent coverage by 2015, he relayed that data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey of 2008 reported national coverage at 77 per cent by 2008.
He also disclosed that the Government of Ghana has in 2011 been undertaking a number of projects to improve the supply of potable water, and that by the end of September, Government had initiated the construction of 670 new boreholes and 29 hand dug wells, which are about 90 per cent complete.
He said under the Infrastructural Development for Accelerated Growth and Job Creation programme, 251 systems in four locations were almost completed, while there was also extension of piped water systems on the Ghana Water Company lines.
Dr. Duffuor however conceded that there were still a number of challenges as brought up by the 3rd Ghana Water Forum (GWF-3) held in the September 2011. Listing the fast pace of urbanisation and the need to meet the growing demand for water for consumption, industry and commerce as some of the challenges, he stressed that the situation calls for a more concrete role for communities in the management and delivery of urban water within the catchment areas of the Ghana Water Company.
This, it is felt, will substantially improve the governance of water delivery and increase access to water and sanitation services, he said.
By Edmund Smith-Asante