Efforts by key stakeholders in the WASH Sector towards the attainment of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in Ghana has received a major boost with the launch on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 of the Social Norms Advocacy Campaign.
The programme dubbed “Ghana Goes ODF” has the theme Changing Our Attitudes for a Clean and Healthy Ghana.
It was one of the major information programmes to be initiated by key industry players with the objective of ending Open Defecation in the country.
Launching the programme, the Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources and Member of Parliament for Okaikoi Central, Hon. Patrick Boamah noted that the ODF Ghana Campaign was designed as an integral part of the Clean Ghana Campaign which was launched in November 2017 by the President, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with focus on three key behaviours: open defecation, littering and open urinating.
He said the launch of the event was the last of six advocacy events geared towards rallying influential Ghanaians and the general public around the ODF Ghana agenda.
Hon. Patrick Boamah indicated that the elimination of open defecation is a global agenda outlined in SDG 6.2 which seeks to “by 2030 achieve access to adequate and equitable Sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”.
Hon. Patrick Boamah stated that one of the opportunities the campaign provides is economic development. He said businesses under the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the Sanitation Sector has produced over 1,000 artisans and the establishment of latrine construction, material supplies as well as soap making and hand washing promotion, creating a source of livelihood for people.
The Deputy Minister reiterated the fact that whilst Government is taking the lead in its efforts, tackling open defecation should not be seen as a Government alone programme but as a collective national responsibility by every citizen. He commended the Pentecost Church for supporting the Police Post in Tatale with a toilet facility and also acknowledged the efforts of the sixty-six (66) champions who have been supporting the campaign with their own resources.
Hon. Patrick Boamah also commended other groups like the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (MCODE) and the various Development Partners, CSOs and WASH Sector Organizations.
The Deputy Minister further stated that per its mandate to lead the programme on sanitation, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is committed to reviewing the Sanitation Policy and Institutional and Regulatory framework, developing a roadmap for achieving ODF and establishing the ODF Ghana Campaign as a National flagship programme. Hon. Patrick Boamah also announced the roll out of a National Sanitation league table system and the first expedition is expected to be launched in 2021. He indicated that as at July 2019, 5000 communities have been declared ODF from a figure of 410 as in 2017.
The Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and Member of Parliament for Juabeng, Hon. Adjei Boateng pledged the support of his Ministry to ensure the success of the ODF Campaign.
The Chairman for the occasion Nana Kobiri Nketia appealed to all households to own their own toilets. He said open defecation anywhere is open defecation everywhere.
It is estimated that Ghana loses 79 million dollars annually on open defecation.
Individuals, Institutions and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies who have distinguished themselves in the fight against open defecation were given awards for their outstanding leadership.