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NR Environmental Officer Whips Assemblies

2006-10-30 13:05:13
This article has been read 760 times.

The Northern Regional Environmental Health Officer Mr Steve Adongo has noted that tractors provided by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment for district assemblies in the Northern region to help improve sanitation were being misused.

Reviewing the status of sanitation in the region at a "Regional Sanitation Forum" in Tamale, he said some district assemblies were using the tractors to cart sand and stones instead of using them for waste collection.

He said before the tractors came, the Environmental Health Unit was only able to manage 20 per cent of the waste in the region, but this improved to 48 per cent with the arrival of the tractors, adding that about 80 per cent of the people in the region still had no access to proper sanitation facilities.

The Regional Environmental Health Officer called on the government to channel resources allocated for sanitation management directly to the Unit for their proper utilisation.
He suggested the re-introduction of Health Inspectors into the system to enhance environmental and personal hygiene in the communities and to reduce the incidence of diseases such as malaria, trachoma and typhoid.

Mr Adongo urged the forum to come out with suggestions and strategies that would help change the attitude of the people toward sanitation.

Mr Kweku Quansah, Programme Officer at the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, identified weak sector policies, institutional capacity at both national and district levels and the lack of political will as some of the factors militating against the proper sanitation management in the country.

Mr Quansah, who gave the status of sanitation situation in Ghana, said inadequate funding, lack of human resources and effective strategies for scaling up and attempting to address the situation were also hampering all efforts.

Mr Issah Ketekewu, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, urged the district assemblies in the region to step up their revenue generating activities to be able to manage waste instead of relying on the District Assemblies’ Common Fund to address sanitation issues.

"It is embarrassing to the society and everybody that 80 per cent of the reported cases of guinea worm infestation in the country come from the Northern Region,” he said, adding that the Carter Centre was interested in helping to eradicate the disease, but could only succeed if the people in the region are willing to change their attitude.

The Northern Region Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Elias Sory, bemoaned the attitude of some private water tanker operators, saying, because of their selfish interests, they were fetching water from guinea worm infested sources which they supplied to residents in the metropolis.

He called for inter-sectoral approach among the Ministries of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Food and Agriculture and Health, as well as the involvement of the traditional authorities, to help stem the spread of the disease in the region.

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