Media houses in the country have been tasked to educate communities to install household toilets in accordance with the national policy and desist from supporting those communities to demand communal toilets from government.
Ms Lorreta Roberts, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) expert, who made the call, also urged media houses across the country to explore ways of packaging sanitation programmes to help Ghana eliminate open defecation by 2030.
In her presentation at a media seminar on improved sanitation in Ghana, organised by World Vision Ghana in Accra, she told journalists, as well as producers of radio and television programmes present to take issues of sanitation seriously and clear the misconception that they do not sell.
The objective of the summit was to rekindle the media interest in the issue of open defecation.
It was also to deliberate on core implementation actions that can help Ghana eliminate open defecation by 2030.
She said if Ghana is to experience an improved sanitation, cleaner and healthier environment devoid of filth and litter, then the media must refocus its lenses on capturing the poor and negative attitudes that have brought Ghana to its knees so far as sanitation is concerned.
According to the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) 2015 report, 19% of the population practice open defecation; in other words, one out of six people practices it, and although it is practiced in every region and district, it is very common in the three northern regions.
The report further stated that 3,600 children die annually in Ghana, and the country loses $79 million, according to the Demographic Health Survey report in 2015.
She mentioned that education on open defecation should be intensified in basic schools since that will be the surest way to go in ending the phenomena.
“It is also a prerequisite to boost the Ghanaian tourism sector,” she stated.
In his welcome address, Mr Dickens Thunde, National Director of World Vision, said his outfit is ready to forge strategic partnerships and review innovative proposals that will significantly reduce open defecation and promote access to improved sanitation.
According to him, Ghana has done very well regarding the provision of water; however, the same cannot be said about sanitation, hence there is the need to work towards improving the situation.
In a solidarity message delivered by the Executive Secretary of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), Ama Ofori Antwi lamented that “sanitation is our business and we wholeheartedly support any programme aligned to our vision of providing a sustainable environmental sanitation for Ghana. The media is all powerful, wielding the clout to tell the sanitation story in a way that is compelling and influential.”
She bemoaned that, globally, Ghana is ranked poorly even among its peers, putting a blot on its image, which must be reversed at all cost.
“We cannot afford to lose the sanitation battle because it is costly on our health, finances, and even dignity,” she stressed.
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