Thursday, May 02, 2013

Minister Hails Sanipath Study at NLLAP 32

Collins Dauda, Minister of Water Resources, Works & Housing
Source: RCN

Alhaji Collins Dauda, the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing hailed the SaniPath project study, when he delivered a short address on the theme of the study, ‘Assessmentof Fecal Exposure Pathways in Low-Income Urban Settings’, at the 32nd edition of the National Level Learning Alliance Platform (NLLAP) forum in Accra.

It was revealed at the forum that after over a year of intensive data collection in some of Accra’s poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods, the SaniPath study found that most drinking water samples were relatively safe, but water stored in homes, primary schools, and nurseries was often contaminated.

Moreover, marine waters were quite contaminated, and flood water and water in drains had levels of contamination equivalent to raw sewage. Furthermore, produce samples tested by the researchers showed evidence that fecal contamination remained after waste-water from drains was used for irrigation.

Alhaji Collins Dauda lauded the SaniPath study, which directly addresses the policy objectives of the National Water Policy on urban water supply, which calls for “evidence-based decision making in the provision of urban water”, under section 2.3.8, focus area 8 on research and development.

He noted that the SaniPath study was consistent with policy measures and actions (ii) and (iv) of Focus Area 8, in which Government commits to support and build the capacities of research institutions and Universities, and to support studies into alternative options for improving services to low-income areas and serving the poor more effectively.

In his address, the Hon. Minister stated that every citizen recognises the importance of potable water and sanitised environment, but that due to rapid urbanisation, demand for these basic facilities have always gone ahead of supply. He reflected on the ever-increasing population of Accra, which stands at over 4 million, according to the 2010 Population and Housing census; noting that the water and sanitation infrastructure in the city was severely over stretched as a result of the growing demand.

Alhaji Dauda projected that with the current population growth of about 2.4%, the population of Accra could double in less than twenty years, thus, increasing further the demand for improved sanitation and water delivery.

According to him, in anticipation of this pressure on WASH infrastructure during the period, the Government of Ghana and the World Bank have planned a $700 million investment in the next decade to expand the infrastructure.  He hinted that the decision on how to spend this fund should depend on the availability of sector wide sufficient data.

The Hon. Minister proposed that, to obtain relevant data and to tackle the problems within the WASH Sector, it was paramount to build close partnership with all stakeholders. He called for a stronger collaboration between the ministry, research institutions and universities for the attainment of a better Ghana for all.

On that note he applauded the Sanipath Project and partners, stating that “…it was gratifying to observe that, Ghana’s pre-eminent research institutions, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Water Research Institute of CSIR, TREND Group, and the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University in the USA have all put their knowledge together to strengthen capacity for environmental health research in Ghana”.

Alhaji Dauda also commended the project for sharing the preliminary findings and hoped that, the synergy drawn from the collaboration will ensure quality final outcome that will help catapult the country from its current low level in WASH services delivery to an enviable position on the African continent.

He was hopeful that the report on the final findings and its recommendations will guide the prioritization of the investments that government and stakeholders plan to make in the sector in the next decade. He added that, the prioritisation that will be made from this and other study recommendations should lead to improving accessibility, equity and ensuring quality of WASH service delivery”.

Finally he commended the Resource Centre Network (RCN) and partners for organising the NLLAP series, which he described as “a useful sharing opportunity”. The 32nd edition of the NLLAP forum had over 70 participants from the academia, government, and legislature, private providers, NGOs among others. This edition provided a sharing opportunity for the SaniPath project to share the preliminary findings from their study.

The NLLAP series is a WASH sector multi stakeholder platform with the overall goal of promoting vibrant sector learning and dialogue. It is hosted by the WASH Resource Centre Network (RCN) Ghana.

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