As global leaders gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, over 18,000 Ghanaians have demanded safe sanitation and drinking water for all.
They are part of a petition by the End Water Poverty Coalition that has gained over a million signatures from around the globe, and is being handed to world leaders, demanding that they take action immediately.
A statement signed by Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy and Partnership of WaterAid Ghana and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday said nearly 14 per cent of people in Ghana (3.4 million) lack access to clean drinking water, while 87 per cent (21.5 million) lack access to sanitation.
It said every year in Ghana over 3,500 children under the age of five die from diseases brought about because of a lack of access to these services.
The statement said politicians at the second High Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership held in Washington D.C. in April 2012 made a number of promises with regards to water, sanitation and hygiene.
“These include reducing open defecation by at least 15 per cent, improving water service access by at least 5 per cent and increasing access to improved sanitation services by at least 5 per cent by the 2015,” it said.
It is estimated that a total of GH¢ 2.4 billion is required for Ghana to meet the sanitation and water MDGs.
The statement said last year the government of Ghana launched a Sanitation and Water for All compact, committing to provide $200 million annually for water and sanitation improvement and an annual $150 million for hygiene.
“Further provision, up to the minimum of 0.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Products, will cover capacity building for hygiene education, including Community Led Total Sanitation and capacity building,” it said.
Afia Zakiya,Country Representative of WaterAid Ghana said: “Ghanaians have for far too long felt the injustice and indignity of being denied their human rights to water and sanitation.
The statement said the cost of the failure of governments to keep the promises they have made to provide these services, is borne most catastrophically in the needless deaths of children.
“With our leaders gathered at the United Nations this week, we say that we can no longer wait indefinitely, that every woman, man and child should have these rights fulfilled by 2030.”
The statement said: “We wish our leaders well and hope they have fruitful deliberations, in order that their resolve would eventually translate the many High Level commitments into action resulting in the release of the necessary financial resources to implement policies, programmes and action plans to improve sanitation in the world”. GNA