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Regional News of Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Source: GNA

Annual New Year School opens January 14

The Sixty-fourth Annual New Year School and Conference is scheduled to open on Monday, January 14, 2013, the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Ghana announced on Wednesday.

The one-week program to be held on the theme: “The Key to Future Health of Our Nation: Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene comes-off at the University of Ghana, Legon.

A press release signed by Professor Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Director of the Institute and copied to the GNA, said the theme for the forthcoming School and Conference "is aimed at addressing the poor sanitation problem that has become a perennial menace to the society".

"As you may no doubt be aware, this annual event has been one of the main discourse platforms where various stakeholders in Ghana meet to deliberate on crucial national issues". the release said.

“We are also delighted to say that our resulting communiqués issued have been useful and very instrumental in the policy formulation of the past governments.”

It said the 2013 New Year School would create the platform for a dispassionate discussion of how as a nation "we could deal with the challenges of inadequate safe drinking water, poor sanitary condition and poor sanitation behaviour, inadequate hygiene education and poor physical planning strategies.

According to the release, the objectives of the New Year School included the provision of the platform for the sharing of lessons among political leaders, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, educationists, civil society organizations, NGOs and religious groups on how to create strong institutional collaboration to improve access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

It outlined other objectives such as raising public awareness of the provisions in the Revised 2010 Environmental Sanitation Policy and building the capacity of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to effectively implement and monitor the environmental sanitation policy.

It said the School would provide the platforms for the development of a community-led approach to water and waste management and for a sustained education programme on health and hygiene.

The release stated that the New Year School would explore innovative ways of commercializing waste through public/private partnership and ways of dealing with innovative strategies in dealing with the physical planning challenges in cities and towns.

It mentioned the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development; Water Resources, Works and Housing; Environment, Science and Technology; Health and Education as collaborating institutions and organizations for the event.

The release said other collaborators included the National Development Planning Commission, MMDAs, Trade Union Congress, Zoomlion Group of Companies, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation,the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies of the University of Ghana, Zoom Alliance, and United Nations Children’s Fund, United States Agency for International Development, World Vision International, and the Ghana News Agency.