Mr Abdul-Rahaman Baba Ahmed, Acting Coordinating Director, Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMA), has said that the Assembly has reviewed its bye-laws to impose spot fines on people who defecate in the open.

He said as part of measures to achieve the open defecation free agenda within the Metropolis, they introduced a moratorium; to enable landlords to construct household toilets by the end of May this year.

He said this was a strategy the Assembly adopted to increase the number of household latrines; as it was required by law that every household must have a toilet facility.

Mr Ahmed made the remarks during a courtesy call on Mr Salifu Saeed, the Northern Regional Minister by Madam Anne Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative Country Representative in Ghana and Mr Ron Strikker, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana.

The visit was to enable the delegation have an overview of the impact of the efforts by the Metropolitan Authorities to implement their open defecation free campaign.

UNICEF Ghana with financial assistance from the Embassy of The Kingdom of Netherlands is currently supporting Ghana to implement an urban sanitation project, from 2015 to 2019.

The project is being implemented at Tamale Metropolis in the Northern Region, Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region and Ho Municipality in the Volta Region; with the objective of increasing access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in communities and schools.

Mr Ahmed noted that environmental health officers would soon be trained to help intensify the campaign regarding open defecation and would play a pivotal role in the prosecution and summoning of offenders in courts.

He noted that the introduction of UNICEF’s interventions, the Assembly had seen over 2,000 constructed latrines over a four month period.

“Our believe is even more than that, because these are only households which signed up with the toilet service providers,” he added.

Mr Saeed commended the Dutch Government for supporting Ghana’s socio-economic development agenda over the years adding that Ghana attached great importance to the promotion of WASH programme in the country.

He commended UNICEF for their interventions in the WASH sector; stating that sanitation was now a right issue.

Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Country Representative in Ghana said the organisation and its partners would highlight the progress in the WASH programme and also underscore issues relating to child protection in the communities within the Region.

“We will be meeting the community, and pledging, as part of the campaign for Ghanaians Against Child Abuse, to support such effort," she added.

In his presentation, Mr Wahab Adam, the TaMA WASH Team Leader, said there was also a National Liquid Waste Management Strategy aimed at providing regulations to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in terms of liquid waste management.

He said it was a comprehensive plan to deal with faecal matter particularly with open defecation, and considering the inadequate treatment facilities, it would be in line from the household level up to the final treatment.

He said the policy when finalised would be a workable document regarding liquid waste management.

Mr Ron Strikker, the Dutch Ambassador noted that voluntary compliance of residents within the Tamale Metropolis was key towards achieving the open defecation free agenda and the Dutch Government was committed to supporting Ghana to address challenges regarding sanitation.

He noted that in the WASH programme, the toilet building component within the Tamale Metropolis had a target of 7,000 latrines in communities by 2020; stating that with its current record 2,000 latrines, there was a need to scale up efforts within the next 16 months to be able to meet the target.