Stakeholders in the sanitation sector in the Northern Region have commemorated the World Toilet for 2016.
The day, which falls every 19th November, is aimed at discussing issues surrounding the importance of household toilets and to discourage open defecation.
This year’s commemoration was under the theme, ‘’ ‘Toilets and jobs’, focusing on how sanitation, or the lack of it, can impact people’s livelihoods.
At an event to mark the World Toilet Day for 2016 at Choggu Mma-naayili, a suburb of Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, in a keynote speech read on behalf of the Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Abubakari Abdallah, he said the day is useful to stakeholders because it offers an opportunity for discussion on the need for access to toilets and awareness creation on the need for action to end basic sanitation crisis.
He said sanitation is a matter of dignity, equality, safety and blessings, and is crucial to improving the health and wellbeing of one – third of the world’s population that lacks access to this important and basic service.
The event brought together stakeholders from the Environmental Health and Sanitation department of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, NGOs who are partners in development, other NGOs who operate within the Water and Sanitation sector in the region, private service providers in the WASH area and community members.
Some communities that had made efforts by either ending open defecation or improving their situation by cutting down the menace were rewarded to serve as motivation to other districts that performed poorly.
The regional minister did not hide his joy over the zeal and commitment exhibited by stakeholders in changing the menace of open defecation in the region to a better one.
According to Hon. Abubkari, ”I am highly delighted to see a number of key sanitation stakeholders and the general public present here.
It gives me hope that the battle of sanitation has not been left on the shoulders of the district assemblies alone.
It also deepens my belief that our clarion call to you to see sanitation as a shared responsibility has been heeded to and this is very commendable”.
He however lamented on the matter of people openly defecating which he said is a worrying situation.
”It is sad to know that in this age and time, a good proportion of our people still defecate in the open, coupled with the perennial floods in our cities and towns during rain, which wash the feaces and other waste materials into our water bodies and living environment.
We need to take drastic measures such as the strict enforcement of national and local government by – laws on sanitation”.
Mr. Abubakari therefore called on the general public to stand up against people who indulge in such unacceptable behavior.
Four communities were engaged in a football ‘gala’ competition, which saw one of them emerge victorious and was handed a set of football jerseys and a football.
The minister in his speech call on the private sector to give more support to the government in solving the problems of open defecation and general sanitation in the region.
”As government, we might not have all the financial muscles to overcome the current financial gaps in the sanitation sector; we will therefore capitalize on private sector investment and partner with relevant development partners and agencies to ensure dream of increasing access to proper sanitation in the Northern Region becomes a reality”.