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Regional News of Saturday, 23 May 2015

Source: GNA

Northern Region to attain ODF in 2017

The Northern Regional Coordinating Council has set June 2017 deadline to ensure that all communities in the region attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) status for improved sanitation amongst the people to prevent the outbreak of diseases.

Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, Deputy Regional Minister, who announced this in Tamale on Thursday, urged metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to demonstrate ownership and leadership of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) concept to rid their communities of open defecation.

He was speaking at a forum to undertake institutional triggering exercise on CLTS organised by the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in partnership with the United Nations Children Fund.

The triggering exercise was carried out by the CLTS Foundation led by Dr Kamal Kar, Originator of the concept.

CLTS is an innovative approach where members of communities realise the need to take action to build their own improved sanitation facilities to completely avoid open defecation.

The population of Northern Region stands at about 2,468,557 out of which about 1,777,361 representing 72 per cent do not have improved sanitation facilities and, therefore, defecate in the open.

Currently, there is no district in the Region that has attained ODF status while CLTS is being implemented in only 18 districts out of the 26 districts in the region.

Alhaji Fuseini attributed the situation to inadequate coordination and collaboration of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) partners in the regional and district levels.

He, therefore, urged MMDCEs to commit budget to ODF and or CLTS implementation process as well as commit resources to undertake monitoring to change the situation for the better.

He also called for the holding of quarterly regional and monthly district review meetings on CLTS to ensure that all communities attain ODF status by the 2017 deadline.

Madam Martha Tia-Adjei, Regional CLTS Focal Person said there is need to motivate community volunteers who help to trigger CLTS in the communities to enable them to do more to ensure success.

Dr Kar called for commitment on parts of MMDCEs and other stakeholders to ensure that all communities embrace the CLTS concept to avoid open defecation.