Madam Carolyn Edlebeck, Head of Programmes at the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), has observed the practice of widespread Open Defecation is resulting in the poor sanitation conditions in Tamale, the northern regional capital.

She disclosed less one percent of the communities in the metropolis are certified as open defecation free (ODF) with residents mainly depending on public toilets. She added nearly 60 percent of adults do not meet their needs for cleanliness, privacy and convenience.

“Additionally, 81 percent of households do not have private latrines. This has resulted in the prevalence of diarrhea and cholera.”

The CRS Head of Programmes made this known during the celebration of the 2021 World Toilet Day last Thursday in Tamale.

She said the theme for the celebration, “Valuing Toilets” draws attention to the fact that toilets and the sanitation systems that support them are underfunded, poorly managed, or neglected in many parts of the world with devastating consequences on health, economies and the environment, particularly in the poorest and most marginalized communities.

She asserted public investment in the water and sanitation sector in Ghana has not kept pace with economic growth and urbanization, stating basic sanitation services currently stand at 17 percent for rural coverage and 25 percent urban coverage.

“Only one in five households have an improved toilet in the home with 22% of the population still practicing open defecation. Furthermore, over 13 million Ghanaians use shared facilities concentrated primarily in low-income urban settlements.”

WASH and Resilience Project

Accordingly, the CRS Programmes Head noted her outfit since 2019 in order to implement the Urban WASH and Resilience Project has been working with the Tamale Metropolitan and Sagnarigu Municipal Assemblies, Ghana Water Company Limited and other key stakeholders tohelp address water security and sanitation challenges in Greater Tamale in line with the CRS response to the need for adequate planning, funding for sanitation systems and for improved hygiene and sanitation among residents.

“The commitment to Urban Resilience is a priority area in our Regional and Country Strategic Plans, seeking to catalyze transformational change at scale, to build a more just, equitable, and prosperous world for all” she emphasized.

Madam Carolyn Edlebeck said the Urban WASH and Resilience Project together with key stakeholders in the last two years have facilitated the construction of 505 household toilets in Tamale Metropolis and Sagnerigu Municipality serving over 5,000 beneficiaries, rehabilitated 7 public toilets with 3 of them certified as WASH friendly and trained 30 Water and Sanitation Management Teams in properly managing water points as well as 7 area mechanics to provide borehole repair services to communities to sustain the supply of water in the communities.

WASH Action Plan

To improve collaboration and coordination, CRS, together with Tamale Metropolitan, Sagnerigu Municipal Assemblies, and other stakeholders have drafted a Citywide Inclusive WASH action plan for Greater Tamale. This WASH action plan seeks to leverage sector players resources (Private, Public, CBOs and NGOs) to address key gaps along the entire sanitation service chain in Greater Tamale.

According to Carolyn Edlebeck, the Citywide WASH action plan focuses on 6 key sections: Resource Mobilization, Solid waste management, Enhanced coordination among sector actors, eradicating open defecation, Institutional WASH, Sanitation in public places, and Improving Access to Potable Water.

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