Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Ghana needs 118 yrs to meet sanitation MDGS – Report

Source: WaterAid Ghana

The millennium development goals (MDGS) are barely two years to the 2015 deadline but the current national sanitation crisis which is at pegged at a staggering 15 percent as against the 54 percent MDGs benchmark. This means that in order for Ghana to reverse the situation, concerted efforts are needed from all stakeholders, a civil society report has indicated.

The problem calls for a collaborative approach between the Ghanaian Government, civil society and businesses to getting the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target back on track in order to improve the health and prosperity of women in the country.

“With the current rate of progress, Ghana is currently 118 years off track from meeting the sanitation Millennium Development Goal target , which was due to be completed in 2015.  Every year it is estimated that over 1,300 women and girls die from diseases brought about from a lack of access to sanitation and water in Ghana. We can and should be doing better.”

This revelation is contained in a new report jointly published by the United Nations organisation; Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WaterAid and Unilever.

The report was published on the first UN recognised World Toilet Day which is commemorated on November 19 each year and serves as a reminder of the 21.6 million people lacking access to an adequate toilet in Ghana. Hence, highlights the devastating consequences in particular for the well-being, health, education and empowerment of women and girls in the country. 

The report highlights the stark consequences for women and girls of the lack of access to toilets.  Over four out of five women in Ghana risk shame, disease, harassment and even attack because they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet and 2.3 million Ghanaian women have no choice but to go to the toilet out in the open.
  
In the report, UN Deputy-Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, and Paul Polman, Unilever Chief Executive Officer, declare:

“One person in three lacks access to adequate sanitation.  The result is widespread death and diseases – especially among children – and social marginalisation.  Women are particularly vulnerable.  

“Poor sanitation exposes females to the risk of assault, and when schools cannot provide clean, safe, toilets girls’ attendance drops.    

“We simply cannot wait.  By acting decisively we can now make a positive impact on global health, education, women’s safety, social equality and economic growth for generations to come”.

The report puts forward a number of recommendations including the following:

• Governments (of both developing and donor countries) make strengthening the sanitation sector and bringing the Millennium Development Goal target on sanitation back on track an immediate and urgent political priority.

• Governments across the world keep their promises and implement the commitments made at national level, regional level (AfricaSan, SACOSAN) and global level (Sanitation and Water for All). Furthermore, they must significantly increase financial resources to the sector, use these resources wisely and ensure that the most marginalised and vulnerable people are targeted.

• The post-2015 development framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals needs to address water, sanitation and hygiene as priority issues, set ambitious targets to achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and gradually reduce and eventually eliminate inequalities in access and use.

• Sanitation should be integrated into education policy supported by sufficient resources and concrete plans to ensure that:

- All schools have adequate sanitation facilities including hand washing facilities and separate toilets for boys and girls with access for students with disabilities.

- Specific provision is made at school for establishing proper menstrual hygiene management facilities.

- Hygiene promotion is featured as an important part of the school curriculum from primary level.

• The role for public private partnerships in addressing the sanitation crisis has been formally recognised. More actors in the private sector must realise the social and business opportunities and invest in social development. More frequent and cross-sector collaboration is essential to achieving real progress.
  
Jean-Laurent Ingles, Unilever Senior Vice President Household Care said:“We need a concerted effort that combines the experience, knowledge and resources of both public and private sector organisations to bring safe sanitation to hundreds of millions of people. Domestos has over 90 years of experience in toilet hygiene and germ protection and is committed to working in partnerships to help build a ‘clean, safe toilet for all’. By doing this we aim to grow our business and help to improve the health and wellbeing of 1 billion people around the world.”

Dr. Chris Williams, Executive Director, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council:

“Sanitation and hygiene are motors which drive health, social and economic development around the world. An environment that lacks sanitation and clean water is an environment where achieving other development goals is an impossible dream. The time to act is now.”

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