Ministry to eradicate open defecation

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) says it is helping households to get more toilet facilities towards eradicating open defecation, a major health menace across the country.

Deputy sector Minister, Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuije said the Ministry was embarking on two schemes, which have begun in some parts of the Greater Accra Region, namely; Accra, Tema, Ashiaman and some parts in the Ga South district.

The World Bank has provided an amount of 100 million dollars for the first scheme, for which, he said, some property owners within the metropolitan districts will have to request for those facilities at their district assemblies, after which an assessment is done and toilet facilities are provided according to the needs of the household.

Nii Vanderpuije made the announcement in Accra in an interview with the Ghana News Agency after making a contribution on a statement on the floor of Parliament by Collins Owusu Amanakwah, Member of Parliament for Manhyia North on the need to re-examine the national sanitation programme.

According to the Deputy Minister, who is also the MP for Odododiodio constituency, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) was also supporting the first scheme.

The scheme was launched early this month.

Nii Vanderpuije said after property owners had made a request to the assemblies, the assemblies would identify a contractor to access the toilet needs of a household and in cases where more than one would be needed, some parts of the household will have to be cleared to make room for an additional toilet.

The Deputy Minister said this Biofil toilet scheme which would start next month, would use less water and would be hygienic and environmentally friendly.

The Biofil toilet system is a simple compact organic waste treatment system that uniquely combines the benefits of the flush toilet system and those of the composting toilets and eliminates the disadvantages and drawbacks of both systems.

Nii Vanderpuije said the cost of construction would be added onto property rates and payment would be made in installments across a period.

Asked how effective the collection of toilet construction bill through the property rates, which people are defaulting, the Deputy Minister observed that the non-payment or delay in payment of property rates was the making of the assemblies, explaining that the law was very explicit on sanctions, including court actions on defaulters and urged the assemblies to sit up in the collection of property rates as a way of getting enough revenue for development and other purposes.

He said with the second toilet scheme, property owners would be made to construct the toilet facilities themselves and later be reimbursed through the district assemblies over a period.

He said in order to ensure that people used those facilities for its intended purpose rather than converting them into living quarters, they would be reimbursed periodically after certification.

The Minister observed that this programme to improve environmental sanitation would drastically reduce the incidence of cholera and other diseases associated with poor environmental sanitation.

He emphasised, and called on his colleagues from both sides of the House to actively get involved in sanitation exercises since diseases do not differentiate between political party colours.

Contributions from both sides of the House stressed the need not to make the national sanitation programme a monthly affair, but an exercise that encourages daily environmental hygienic practice in order to reduce the amount of funds the country spends sanitation related issues.

They also stressed the need for a non-partisan approach to the exercise, which must involve all legislators in their constituencies, assemblymen, chiefs and the entire citizenry. GNA

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