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General News of Sunday, 20 October 2019

Source: Ghananewsagency.org

Upper West RICCS concerned about improper disposal of faeces

Upper West Regional Inter-agency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (RICCS) has expressed concern about inappropriate disposal of liquid waste, particularly faecal matter, which is in contrast with its campaign against Open Defecation (OD).

The committee has condemned activities of disposing faeces and people defecating in the open environment, like pouring faeces on farmlands, without recourse to it hazardous health implications to people living around.

Mr Melvin Tagoe, an Engineer with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), who expressed this concern at the 2019 third quarter RICCS meeting in Wa called on people to adopt proper systems of getting rid of faeces to avoid air, soil and water pollution and prevent diseases such as cholera.

He said Waste management agencies and the government needed to establish a treatment plant to help to treat faeces after dislodgment to prevent diseases.

“If you will pour it raw on the farm, then you should allow the people to be defecating openly on the farm,” he said, raising the issue of cholera is one of the diseases of national concern because of its potential to breakout in into an epidemic proportion.

Last year, the Ghana Health Service issued an alert about the possibility of cholera outbreak saying, as the rains had started to set in at certain locations and will be getting to its peak season, the risk for cholera outbreak was high.

The CWSA has warned that disposal of untreated faeces in the open could infect vegetables such as cabbage and carrot planted on farms where faeces are deposited in large quantities and also bring out diseases like typhoid.

About 162 communities attained Open Defecation Free (ODF) status between December 2018 and September 2019, bring total number of ODF communities in Upper West to 695 out of 1,167 communities.

The Upper West Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Department (EHSD), Mr Agambire Inusah Alhassan told the stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector that efforts were made to achieve the region-wide ODF by 2021 set for the region.

In efforts to improve regional ODF status, EHSD in collaboration with UNICEF and Wmintuur Microfinance, are implementing the District Sanitation Fund (DSF) project to provide loans to rural households for construction of household latrines.

Madam Catherine Amissah, General Manager of Mwintuur Microfinance, said GHC96,462.00 was earmarked for the implementation of the project within a three-year period.
The project, which starts from 2019 to 2021 seeks to help bridge the financial gap in the implementation of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) concept.

She said most households in the region were willing to construct household latrines, but lacked the funding support, which informed establishment of the DSF.

The fund, in its second year, would provide pro-poor households with grants to aid the households construct latrines.

The DSF is currently working in 30 communities in the Wa West District out of which 77 households, according to DSF, have applied to the Fund for loan.

But 18 qualified for the loan and eight households so far have received loans amounting GHS7,354.00.