Mr Osman Mumuni, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist at UNICEF, has expressed concerns about the high level of water contamination in Ghana which has put many Ghanaians at the risk of drinking faecally contaminated water at the point of use.
He said the level of water contamination in the country was as high as 48 per cent, which he linked to the high rate of Open Defecation (OD) in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the Upper West Regional District and School Open Defecation Free (ODF) League table in Wa on Thursday, Mr Mumuni observed that 18 per cent of Ghanaians were practicing OD with about 45 per cent of the people in northern Ghana practicing OD.
The Upper West Regional Inter-agency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (RICCS), the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, and the Regional Environmental Health and Sanitation Department launched the league table with funding support from UNICEF.
All 33 public Senior High Schools (SHSs) in the region were assessed by a team from the RICCS on the state of the OD, WASH, and general sanitation situation in the various schools and ranked on the league table.
The Takpo, Sombo, and St. Augustin’s Technical School in the Nadowli-Kaleo District were ranked best in the sanitation services in the schools and were recognised with citations and other sanitation and WASH equipment and materials.
The Eremon Senior High Technical School in the Lawra Municipality, and the Islamic and T.I Amass SHSs in the Wa Municipality were at the bottom of the league table as the worse performing schools in terms of sanitation services.
The assessment of the schools was to afford stakeholders and development partners the opportunity to better target interventions in the schools.
“20 per cent (of schools) do not have sanitation facilities, 25 per cent of the schools that have facilities do not have gender-sensitive facilities which mean that the consequences for adolescent girls are very serious”, he explained.
He, thus, expressed hope that the revelations of the league table will lead to an improvement in the sanitation situation in the schools in the coming years and called for individual and institutional commitment in that regard.
Mr Mumuni also advocated an enabling environment for other development partners such as the SNV, Global Communities, and World Vision to be able to support in improvement of the sanitation situation in the region.
The assessment revealed among other things, poor maintenance and management of sanitation facilities in schools.
It also revealed that some schools had enough toilet facilities but those facilities were under key and lock due to either construction defects or water challenges.
Mr Martin Dery, the Executive Director of ProNet North, urged the District Assemblies and school authorities to take interest in the projects being implemented in their schools including the construction of toilet facilities to ensure they met the expected standard.
“What is the use of a toilet facility if it is constructed but cannot be put to use because it is poorly constructed”, he said
Source: Info Radio