Stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector have revealed that lack of proper supervision of WASH facilities in some basic schools across the country by school authorities are causes for poorly maintained and dilapidated WASH facilities the schools are grappling with.
To this end the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODe), in partnership with World Vision -Ghana and the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) have called for intensification and strengthening of maintenance regulations of WASH facilities in public basic schools.
The call according to the coalition followed a number of visits by its members, officials of GAMA and World Vision to schools that have benefited from the GAMA improved toilet facility project.
The group revealed the worrying WASH situation in schools at a National Symposium held in Accra on the theme, “The State of WASH in Ghanaian Schools: Remedies and Actions.”
“We observed that beneficiary schools of GAMA improved toilet facility project are poorly maintained their WASH facilities due to poor supervision on the part of school authorities and the district level of the Ghana Education Service (GES) authorities, especially the Circuit Supervisors” the Coalition reiterated.
Speaking at the National Symposium, the WASH Technical Coordinator of World Vision Ghana, Mr. Yaw Atta Arhin, said access to WASH facilities in schools had been a huge challenge, adding that, between 2013 and 2018, access to toilet and sanitation facilities in public basic schools increased by only five per cent, from 60 per cent to 65 per cent.
With access to safe water, private schools recorded a reduction, from 84 to 82 per cent, while public schools had a reduction from 78 to 74 per cent.
The Ministry of Sanitation, meanwhile, was one of the sectors that received huge sums of funds for developmental projects, he noted.
The WASH Technical Coordinator of World Vision Ghana is therefore, calling on the Media and the public to play a watchdog role to put authorities on their toes to ensure that they implement sustainable WASH developmental projects.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr. Patrick Yaw Boamah, announced that government had invested almost a billion dollars to improve the water and sanitation sector.
He said the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, under the Ministry of Sanitation, had also installed over 20,000 toilet facilities in six regions across the country.
Speaking on the supervision of WASH facilities in schools, Mr Boamah, who doubled as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikwei Central Constituency in the Greater Accra region said, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) especially, those within his jurisdiction, were performing their supervisory roles and dragging perpetrators to face the law.
He urged the MMDAs to be very tough on enforcement of sanitation byelaws and also resource their members to use the law in their operations.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, on his part said personal and environmental hygiene formed part of the curriculum of the Ghana Education Service and were essential ingredients in the education of pupils and students, in both basic and senior high schools.
A key step to improve sanitation is to educate citizens on habits that worsen the situation and crucial to this, was shaping the behavioral attitudes of children and ingraining them, as part of their psyche, Dr. Osei Adutwum noted.
The Deputy Minister of Education further explained that, when personal and environmental hygiene formed part properly and effectively, it would form firm foundations for their attitudes as they grow older and become adult citizens.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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