The Country Director of IRC, Mrs. Vida Dutt has revealed that the “mad rush” for Veronica buckets to fight COVID 19 in most healthcare facilities, individual homes, markets as well as some public places is clear indication of how the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector have been neglected over the years.
According to her most healthcare facilities across Ghana lack access to portable water, proper sanitation and handwashing facility. She hinted that 58% of Ghana’s population has no access to water.
Mrs. Dutt further explained that eight per cent (8%) out of the 42% of the population who has access to water and handwashing facilities uses unreliable source of water.
Speaking in an interview with our Correspondent, Franklin ASARE-DONKOH, after a virtual dialogue section between government officials, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Media and other stakeholders called on government to critically look at the provision of water and handwashing items in healthcare facilities which lack such basic amenities in the country. This she said will help prevent the spread of infections.
The Country Director of IRC told this Reporter that the dialogue section was used to deliberate on the relevance of WASH and impact of handwashing in the fight against the COVID- 19 pandemic and the CSOs response during this period.
Meanwhile when the Chairman of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Mr. Martin Derry was reached via telephone to find out what his outfit response to the COVID 19 pandemic has been, said members of CONIWAS have been very instrumental in communication dissemination and provision of handwashing facilities to healthcare facilities, local lorry parks, markets and other public organisations.
He was however, quick to admitted that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in CSOs responsiveness, coordination and integration systems. “The effects of COVID19 are varied and sometimes extreme for the entire society and way of life.” Mr. Derry added.
The chairman of CONIWAS urged all members to focus on eliminating inequalities in the WASH sector and ensuring no one is left behind. CSOs have to identify the barriers to access, especially for women, children, People with Disabilities (PWDs), migrants: settler communities within Ghana.
He said going forward CSOs will go back to the drawing board to develop emergency response strategies to fight any future pandemic.
The virtual dialogue was on the theme: “WASH and COVID-19; CSOs role and response.”
Story and pics by: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH