The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources,Hon.Cecelia Abena Dapaah, has officially opened the 32nd MOLE WASH conference currently underway at Ejisu in the Ashanti region, with a call on young ladies who are about to enter to marriage to reject any man who don’t have washroom in his house. The Minister calls for behavioral and attitudinal change of all Ghanaians if the country was to achieve its Development GOAL -6 by 2030 . This year’s conference is on the theme ‘‘Repositioning the WASH Sector for Emergency Response and Sustainable Development’’
“I’m advising all young ladies who are about to enter into marriage not to marriage any man who don’t have toilet or washroom in his house. All Ghanaians especially, men who normally urinate in gutters are advice to stop the shameful practice because gutters are not washrooms for them”, she added.
The Minister used the occasion to appeal to all stakeholders to join forces to fight against Open Defecation in the country. Hon.Dapaah who heaps praises on the tremendous achievements chalked by her Ministry through the support of President Akufo-Addo disclosed that various interventions put in place so far is expected to help provide water to over 5 million Ghanaians in the Urban communities alone whiles rural water supply projects undertaking is also expected to help provide water to about 1.2million Ghanaians in addition to the 5 million. The Minister announced that urban water supply projects currently ongoing are; Temale,Yendi,Damango,Sunyani,Keta and Sekondi among others.
In his welcome address,Mr.YAW ATTAH ARHIN, CHAIRMAN, CONIWAS, said the contribution of NGOs in the WASH sector over the years cannot be overemphasized. From capacity building, systems strengthening and research, to policy formulation, implementation and review to resource mobilization, model testing and service delivery to community sensitization, advocacy and social accountability, NGOs continue to make significant impact in the sector.
He revealed that,the 2017 and 2018 WASH CSOs Performance Report bears ample testimony to our contribution. Indeed, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, NGOs supported government’s effort with funding, supply of WASH facilities and services, particularly handwashing facilities, personal protective equipment, community sensitization and public education. We will continue to play these roles to improve the fortunes of the ordinary Ghanaian citizen.
“All we ask for is increased recognition and stakeholder engagement and support towards identifying innovative solutions to the challenges confronting the sector and barriers to sustainable access to WASH services. Here, we wish to express our appreciation for the inclusion of CONIWAS on the Ministerial Advisory Board of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and the Sector Advisory Board of the Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre, Kumasi (RWESCK) among others. We look forward to increased representation on all relevant boards and committees in the WASH sector.
WASH is a public good without which we are vulnerable. The covid-19 pandemic reminds us of a fundamental tenet in public health – when some populations are unprotected, it leaves us all at risk. Unfortunately, inequalities in access to water, sanitation and hygiene have persisted with the rich and urban dwellers more likely to have access to sustainable WASH services than the poor and rural dweller”.
Mr.Attah said investing in water, sanitation, and hygiene is the necessary foundation for a healthy and productive population. Investments in WASH are what we call a “no-regrets” investment which have multiplier effects on all productive sectors of the economy. According to him,the economic benefits of sanitation are about five times the cost, and improving hand hygiene can generate savings in health expenditure of up to fifteen times the cost. Unfortunately, underinvestment in WASH has left 4.2 million Ghanaians without safe drinking water, and more than 22 million without basic sanitation or the means to wash their hands (JMP 2020). Meanwhile, as the famous American Philosopher, Deepak Chopra once said “Although we take it for granted, sanitation is a physical measure that has probably done more to increase human life span than any kind of drug or surgery.”
Scenes from the conference