You are here: HomeNews1999 01 14Article 4623

General News of Thursday, 14 January 1999

Source: --

Only 50 per cent of Ghanaians have access to safe drinking water - Expert

*** Tamale (Northerrn Region), 14 Jan. '99 - Only about 50 per cent of Ghanaians have access to safe drinking water while the rest depend on unhygienic natural sources, Dr Nsiiri Agana, Tamale municipal director of health services, said yesterday at a workshop on water hygiene in Tamale. Dr Agana, who addressed the opening session of the workshop, said only about 20 per cent of the people have access to toilet facilities, a problem he described as ''much more acute''. The ratio of public toilets to the population is one to 2,000 which ''accounts for widespread incidence of defecation by people in open places''. The three-day workshop sponsored by Water Aid, a British Non-Governmental Organisation, is being attended by 26 representatives of nine NGO's engaged in water and sanitation programmes in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti, Greater Accra and Eastern regions. It is aimed at equipping the participants with the requisite skills, knowledge and attitudes to gather relevant baseline data for effective hygiene promotion. Dr Agana said because of the inadequacy of the existing system of solid and liquid waste disposal, people dump their refuse at places that pollute water bodies. He called for a multi-sectoral approach to address such problems, saying the Ministry of Health will support Water Aid and all other stakeholders in this regard. The Chairman of New Energy, a local NGO, Mr Amadu Mahama, lauded Water Aid for financing the construction of 2,500 boreholes and 1,600 latrines in the six participating regions during the last 12 years. Mr Mahama said Water Aid makes available about three billion cedis every year to fund projects in its operational areas. The presiding member of the Tamale Municipal Assembly, Alhaji Yakubu Bukari, commended New Energy for assisting to improve the water delivery system in the municipality. New Energy has rehabilitated eight wells fitted with handpumps in Tamale and constructed 52 hand-dug wells in the West Mamprusi and Gushegu/Karaga districts. Alhaji Bukari appealed to the beneficiary communities to take good care of the pumps to sustain their sources of safe water and tasked the participants to come out with strategies to ensure that water sources remain clean and safe all year round.