Ghana asked to show political will towards eliminating open defecation

Open defecationMr Kamal Kar, Founder and Chairman of the World-wide Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Foundation, has asked government to demonstrate the  political will towards eradicating open defecation in the country.

Dr Kar’s Foundation is spearheading a world-wide campaign to eradicate open defecation in countries where the practice is a major public health problem.

The campaign in Ghana focuses on the Volta, Central, Northern, Upper-East and Upper-West Regions, where open defecation is said to be endemic in many districts and communities.

Dr Kar said Madagascar and others, comparatively less endowed than Ghana, were able to eliminate the practice totally because of the strong political will.

Dr Kar was speaking at a meeting with the political and administrative leaderships and technocrats, to assess progress of the campaign in the Volta Region, since its launch in 2012, with a 2015 projection of positive results through a series of actions at the community, ministerial and departmental levels.

Dr Kar who is on an African tour to assess the progress towards achieving open defecation, said his Foundation was looking forward to Ghana, especially the Volta Region, to be a major success story in Ghana and Africa.

He was, however, unhappy that that expectation could not be attained, and suggested that the coverage of the campaign in the region should be expanded from seven to include the remaining 18 districts, and given greater impetus.

Dr Kar said that would require a road-map, specific targets and budget lines, in order to overcome limitations arising from dependence on donor support, to drive the campaign.

Responding, Mr Francis Ganyaglo, Deputy Volta Regional Minister,  said though progress towards the ODF goal had been slow, some positive results had been achieved since 2012.

For example, he said, none of the districts where the CLTS campaign against open defecation was being implemented, recorded a single case of cholera last year.

It was also observed that other districts originally not included in the campaign had shown interest in taking it up on their own.

Mr Ganyaglo said specific instructions would be issued out to Municipal and District Chief Executives, to give priority attention to the CLTS campaign, and devote a reasonable amount of their sanitation budgets to the campaign, because of its public health importance.

He said districts that were already included in the CLTS campaign would be made to mentor others, in order to expand the scope and quicken the pace of achieving universal ODF in the region.

Meanwhile, Dr Kar’s Foundation will be holding a one-day triggering workshop on CLTS for stakeholders in Ho, to obtain feedback from stakeholders involved in the campaign, and obtain commitment from the powers that be, towards the programme.

Source: GNA

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