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Regional News of Tuesday, 18 July 2017


Tamale Metropolis tops in open defecation in Northern Region

Open defecation is the practice of people defecating outside and not into a designated toilet Open defecation is the practice of people defecating outside and not into a designated toilet

The Tamale Metropolitan Assembly in the Northern Region has scored zero in the latest District Open Defecation Free (ODF) rankings with Tatale-Sanguli and Mion Districts emerging first and second respectively.

This is the third consecutive time the metropolis has scored low marks in a ranking which assessed 26 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the region.

“Tatale-Sanguli and Mion Districts have the least percentage of people who practice open defecation. They also have the highest number of people living in ODF communities and household toilet coverage”, Northern Regional Coordinator of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Dauda Shaibu revealed.

Tamale is Ghana’s fourth largest city after Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in West Africa in terms of human population, yet 7 out of 10 residents defecate in the open.

Some of the worst and poor performing districts are Mamprugu Moaduri and North Gonja whereas other good performing districts are Karaga which place 3rd, East Mamprusi, 4th and Chereponi, 5th.

Open defecation is the practice of people defecating outside and not into a designated toilet. The term is widely used in literature about water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues in developing countries.

Ghana is ranked second in Africa in open defecation after Sudan with 19 percent of its population resorting to sanitation practices considered the worst of all.

The Northern Region is also last but second in the practice of open defecation in the whole country. Only 5 percent out of the total population also have toilet facilities in their homes whereas 13 percent are committed to the use of such facilities.

Unveiling the latest open defecation league table at a brief ceremony at the Regional Coordinating Council, Northern Regional Minister Salifu Saeed said, the open defecation league table is part of strategies adopted by his office and development partners to fight the menace of open defecation in the region.

According to him, the significance of the District League Table is not geared towards naming and shaming districts but to broaden and increase stakeholders’ efforts at achieving open defecation free status.

The league table is to ensure that it creates a positive competition among MMDAs in the region in the fight against open defecation and facilitate MMDAs to implement Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) as a government policy and programme but not as a donor project.

It also facilitates MMDAs to own and support the CLTS process for sustainability with the imminent reduction or withdrawal of donor funds due to the country’s middle-income status as well as celebrate MMDAs making giant strides to end open defecation in their districts.

Mr Saeed urged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to allocate reasonable amounts of money to the water and sanitation sector of their Assemblies.

He said his office would be on the heels of all MMDAs to ensure they provide enough resources to tackle WASH issues.

The Northern Regional Coordinator of CLTS, Dauda Shaibu, expressed disappointment in the attitude of authorities of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, citing their refusal to provide information and data to the assessment to enable them do their work.

“Tamale Metro, Mamprugu Moaduri and North Gonja are among the districts with the highest percentage of people who practice open defecation. They are also the districts where none of their communities have stopped open defecation and the efforts of NGOs and field officers are not effective in reducing open defecation”, he indicated.

Going forward, he said his office is ready to work with the worst performing districts to do things right especially in the area of water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

Meanwhile, so far, one thousand communities out of 4,412 communities in the Northern Region have been verified and certified as open defecation free which represents 23 percent of coverage in the region from an earlier 11.4 percent in January 2017. This is a 50 percent jump of the previous coverage thus if stakeholders remain committed and work assiduously they can achieve their goal of ending open defecation by December 2017.

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