Ghana government urged to pursue universal toilet coverage

Prof. Kwabena Biritwum Nyarko

A professor of civil engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has stressed the need for the government to design and implement a national programme on universal toilet coverage in the country. 

Prof. Kwabena Biritwum Nyarko said it was required of the government to commit and invest in creating the needed enabling environment for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to enforce laws on household toilets.  

In his inaugural professorial lecture at the KNUST in Kumasi, Prof. Nyarko explained that a clear enabling environment would engender compliance and quality standards through robust monitoring and supervision mechanisms. 

“The construction, operation and maintenance of household toilets for the nearly six million inhabitants without them, could be a game changer by creating sustainable jobs along the sanitation value chain – it will create job for artisans, suppliers of construction materials, financial institutions and other service providers.” 

His topic was “Universal Access to Water and Sanitation Services: A Myth or Reality.” 

Prof. Nyarko, who is also the Provost of the College of Engineering at KNUST further tasked the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to integrate greywater management in water and sanitation programming. 

According to him, greywater management was virtually non-existent in Ghana adding that, over 90 percent of greywater generated in Ghana was untreated before disposal. 

He again suggested a comprehensive assessment of the overall water supply landscape for urban areas, small towns, and rural communities. 

This was necessary to determine the best management arrangement based on economies of scale, efficiency improvement and regulatory enhancement. 

We should also explore the creation of two or three utilities that serve a combination of urban, small towns and rural areas across the country. 

Prof. Nyarko indicated that, to provide sustainable water and sanitation services, it was imperative to address the high rate of non-functional water and sanitation infrastructure.  

All existing water and sanitation infrastructure must have a functional management access plan, with budget for recurring expenditure such as repairs, rehabilitation and access renewal linked to the conditions and useful life assets, recommended. 

This approach would ensure the sustainability of investment and lead to more effective and impactful service outcomes. 

The government, he said must invest in research, development, and innovation to generate solutions to address the water and sanitation challenges and this should be in areas such as financing, technology options, institutional designs, marketing to ensure effective implementation and sustainability. 

He believed when these were taken into practice, Ghana could achieve universal access to basic water services and make significant progress in sanitation. 

Source: GNA 

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