General News of Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Nana Oduro Kwarteng, Chief Director, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, has attributed the problem of poor sanitation in the country to mainly wrong attitudes in people.
"Solving the problem of poor sanitary conditions begins with us. It is highly an attitudinal issue," he said on Tuesday in Accra, when he addressed the 64th Annual New Year School and Conference.
Speaking on the topic: “Strengthening Public/Private Partnership in Innovation and Commercialization of Waste Management to Meet the Demands of the 21st Century”, he said, there was the need for state institutions to be practically supportive of the fight against poor sanitary conditions.
Nana Kwarteng said it was quite impossible to effectively enforce sanitary rules, when people had to wake up at dawn to queue in order to answer nature's call, because they did not have facilities for such purposes in their homes.
He said the time had come for institutions within the public sector, to live up to their mandate by ensuring, that interventions were effected to make it convenient for people to live under basic sanitary conditions.
Nana Kwarteng said whilst the "talk of the day" was growth engineered by the private sector, the public sector had a strong role to play in festering national growth.
He said by simply enforcing the laws on habitable buildings and the disposal of both liquid and solid waste, a good portion of the problems of sanitation faced by the country could be solved.
Nana Kwarteng said plans were aboard by his ministry to recycle both liquid and solid waste, adding that over 100 state-of-the-art waste disposal equipment, would be made available to the district assemblies to deal with poor sanitation.
He urged the assemblies to be more pro-active in tackling sanitation within their communities, saying "We should be more creative in finding solutions to our sanitation problems.
Dr. Frank Nyonator, Director of Human Resource at the Ministry of Health, said it took basic habits such as washing of hands with soap before eating and keeping one's environment clean by weeding and cleaning gutters and drains, to prevent the hundreds of deaths that occur every year, from hygiene related causes.
He said whilst there was massive rural-urban migration, basic conditions that enforced good sanitary conditions were largely lacking in Accra the capital.
"No urban facilities for example exist for the convenience of people who live in certain deprived communities within the capital."
He said with a prediction by the National Population Council that two out of three Ghanaians would be living in the urban areas in ten years, the government as well as other stake-holders needed to come up with effective interventions, to ensure good sanitary conditions in the years to come, especially within the city.
The week's conference is under the theme: "The Key to Future Health Of Our Nation: Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.”