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WaterAid tells government to deliver on $200m annual SWA Compact Commitment

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A new WaterAid report: ‘Off-Track, Off-Target’, launched on Friday in Accra shows that more people in the world lack adequate sanitation services today than a decade ago.

The 64-page report looks at why investment in water, sanitation and hygiene sector is not reaching those who need it most and also why progress is slow, uneven and unjust.

It comes after a year’s intensive research in six countries – Ghana, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Nepal and Tanzania.

The report stated that unless urgent action is taken, nearly all governments in Sub-Saharan African would fail to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) pledge they made to halve the proportion of people without sanitation by 2015.

The report called on donor partners to double global aid flows to water, sanitation and hygiene by prioritising an additional US$10 billion per year.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Accra, Dr Afia Zakiya, Country Representative of WaterAid in Ghana, called on government to deliver on the promise of allocating $200 million dollars annually to the water and sanitation sector and $150 million in the next four years.

Government made the commitment under the Sanitation and Water for All Compact to provide the resources from 2011 to 2015.

She said increased investment in the water, sanitation and hygiene sectors was critical in enabling the country to meet the Millennium Development Goals and also to help reduce the existing inequities in service delivery.

“The sanitation situation is dire, with serious consequences on health education and livelihoods,” she said.

Dr Zakiya warned that government’s failure to fulfill the pledge would lead to serious health consequences as seen in the recent cholera outbreak in various parts of the country.

She said poor rural and urban women, children and the physically challenged continued to bear the brunt of low investment in the sector and had still to travel long distances in search of potable water in areas such as Nima, Mamobi, Chorkor and Old Fadama.

She attributed the trend to poor planning, inadequate resource allocation by both central and local governments and poor aid targeting as well as poor priority setting by government.

Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy, WaterAid in Ghana, said government must meet 0.5 percent target of Gross Domestic Product for sanitation in particular and at least 3.5 percent for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) sector as a whole.

There must also be efforts to decentralized WASH provisioning through District Assemblies, Pubic Private Partnerships and strengthening community management of WASH services, he said.

Mr Naa Demedeme, Director Environmental Health and Sanitation Division of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, called for collective responsibility from all stakeholders in resolving the challenges in the sector.

Meanwhile, an international group of 34 female economists have written an open letter to President John Evans Atta-Mills to draw attention to the international water and sanitation crisis.

“On the day you read this letter, 4,000 more children under five will die due to diseases brought about through unsafe water and poor sanitation. This equates to more child deaths than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, making it the biggest child killer in Sub-Saharan Africa,” they wrote in the letter.

Aside the Off-Track, Off-Target report, WaterAid also launched the Water Works campaign to let governments understand the urgency to do more to tackle the water and sanitation crisis.

The Water Works campaign aims to show that the provision of taps and toilets are simple, effective and affordable, and that investing in these basic human needs is an urgent priority.

Source: GNA

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One comment

  1. An itenlilegnt point of view, well expressed! Thanks!