The Upper West Regional Environmental Health and Sanitation Department has recorded 32 more Open Defecation Free (ODF) communities in January 2019, bringing the total communities declared free from open defecation in the region to 565.
The increase in number of ODF communities represents 48.4 per cent of the 1,167 communities distributed across the region constituting 12.7 per cent total land area of the country.
Nadowli-Kaleo District recorded 20 communities, Wa East six, Jirapa Municipal five, and Wa Municipal only one community attained ODF status in the first month of the year.
Mr Alhassan Inusah Agambiri, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Department, revealed the latest statistics to the Ghana News Agency in Wa.
He commended stakeholders in the ODF campaign for the success chalked, but called for more stringent measures to ensure that the entire region attained ODF within the shortest possible time to improve sanitation and health conditions of the people.
The Upper West Regional Coordinating Council and the Municipal and District Assemblies have set 2021 for the whole region to attain ODF status.
This means by 2021, efforts would be made by officials to terminate open faecal transmission – no visible faeces would be found in the environment or communities and that every household and public or community institutions would have safe technology option for disposal of faeces.
Mr Agambiri said the results recorded indicated that attaining a region-wide ODF by the 2021 period was feasible if stakeholders remained committed to the campaign.
“Development partners like UNICEF is ready to provide the necessary financial support to any district that is willing to achieve results in the ODF campaign,” he added.
He said people who are found reluctant to practice ODF should be forced to do so, and entreated Municipal and District Assemblies to enact and enforce by-laws on sanitation.
The offenders or those who violate the sanitation laws should be prosecuted, he said.
As part of activities to scale up the ODF campaign in Upper West, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, is implementing IDA Project under the World Bank’s Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation across the 11 districts.
UNICEF Ghana is also supporting the ODF campaign in the region.
Nandom District is currently on top of the Regional ODF league table with 84 of its communities out of 88 being ODF.
It is followed by Nadowli-Kaleo-District with 96 out of 141 communities, while Wa Municipal continue to be at the bottom with only five out of 86 communities being ODF.