COVID-19 fight calls for an effective WASH intervention – GWJN to gov’t

The Ghana WASH Journalists Network (GWJN) joins stakeholders all over the world to mark the World Water Day has called on government to put in place an effective Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) intervention and standards to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

GWJN in a statement issued and signed by its secretary emphasised that provision of sufficient and efficient WASH facilities, as well as the conscious, healthy WASH practice by all, have become non-negotiable and impose more responsibilities on WASH sector players.

“GWJN believes that the WASH sector players in Ghana have a critical role to play in dealing with this challenge that confronts the country.” -it said.

Below is the full statement.

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE GHANA WASH JOURNALISTS NETWORK ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2020 WORLD WATER DAY CELEBRATIONS

ACCRA, MARCH 23, 2020 (GWJN)–The Ghana WASH Journalists Network GWJN joins stakeholders all over the world to mark the World Water Day under these trying times when the whole world is battling a ferocious pandemic, the COVID-19.

As seen from experiences around the world, this fight calls for an effective Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) intervention and standards to deal with the pandemic, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives around the globe.

It is for this reason that the GWJN believes that the WASH sector players in Ghana have a critical role to play in dealing with this challenge that confronts the country.

The provision of sufficient and efficient WASH facilities, as well as the conscious, healthy WASH practice by all, have become non-negotiable and impose more responsibilities on WASH sector players.

The network would like to use the opportunity presented by the World Water Day to urge all persons, institutions, and agencies responsible for the provision of WASH services, to put in more efforts at delivering on their mandates, so that our collective efforts would enable us to rise to the challenge posed by the current outbreak of COVID-19.
To this end, it is our prayer that basic water shall be made available to all individuals, households, institutions, and businesses to enhance the regular washing of hands by all, washing of clothes, handkerchiefs, aprons, utensils and even structures.
We commend the government for its efforts, especially over the past two weeks to contain and combat the spread of the pandemic. But at the same time, the government needs to put the provision of potable water and handwashing facilities high on its agenda in this fight.
Of special concern also to the network is the need for the unrestricted provision of clean water, detergents, and hand sanitizers to hospitals and other health facilities.
This is highly critical to ensure that health personnel and patients for that matter have access to enough of these basic necessities and help prevent the spread of contagious diseases including the COVID-19 to patients and health workers.

We, therefore, find the recent warning by the Ghana Water Company Limited asking consumers to expect water shortages as unhealthy, flimsy, and a way of abdicating their responsibility to Ghanaians.
Government, through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, must task its agencies in the water sector to work extra hard in these critical times, to prevent any incidence of water shortage across the country.
Again, we call for the extension of water services to all poor rural communities, where they still face the challenge of all-year-round availability of water; while there is provision also for inner cities, peri-urban areas our  Zongos and slums.
The efficiency of the WASH sector is a test case for the government’s ability to win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is a fight in which the only choice for government is to win.
Our humble proposal is that part of the 100 million U.S dollars earmarked/allocated for the COVID-19 intervention should be channeled into boosting the provision and extension of potable water to deprived communities mentioned earlier.
In line with the  theme for the 2020 global celebration:  “Water and Climate Change”  we urge that  the fight against illegal mining (galamsey) also needs to be intensified to salvage the water bodies that we have, to ensure a sustainable source of raw water for present and future generations.
On this occasion, we call on all Ghanaians to make handwashing with soap under running, the washing and, drying used clothes under the scorching sun, a habit to help protect ourselves from the novel Coronavirus infection.
We, the members of the GWJN, wish to pledge our support towards a vibrant WASH sector.
May the Almighty God continue to bless us with the knowledge and will power to protect the abundant water resources of the country.
Stay alive, Ghana needs you alive.

Signed: A.S
Samuel Asamoah
(National General Secretary)
0242254780
National Coordinator
(Justice Adoboe)
0243364994

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Writer’s email: franklinadonkoh@gmail.com

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