The Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan, has called for a more radical approach to eradicating open defecation in the country.
According to him, the practice of open defecation has become a disgrace to the nation that just celebrated 60 years of independence.
Speaking at the Central Regional launch of a campaign dubbed: ‘Open Defecation-free Ghana Campaign’ in Cape Coast, the Central Regional Minister could not come to terms with the fact that the nation spends $280 million on sanitation-related diseases.
“According to the World Bank, one in five Ghanaians practices open defecation.This practice makes Ghana lose $79 million on the effects of open defecation yearly.This is incredibly ridiculous. We need to adopt a more robust approach to end this practice,” he said.
The Central Regional minister said that successive governments have not done enough to end open defecation, adding posterity will not forgive the current government of which he is part if nothing impactful is done to correct the sad phenomenon.
“The practice is not only costly but dehumanizing as well. This government owes it a duty to help stamp out this practice and I will lead that crusade,” he assured.
Loretta Roberts of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) congratulated the government and the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources for the leadership shown in improving the sanitation situation in the country through the launch of the National Sanitation Campaign.
She explained that the Open Defecation Free Ghana campaign was aimed at making Ghana open defecation-free by creating awareness of its dangers on the well-being of the people and to trigger a change in behaviour on negative sanitation practices.
According to her, the campaign did not only target those who practised open defecation but policymakers, service providers such as the environmental health officers, community development workers, health and education staff and the civil society.
The Omanhen of the Cape Coast Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, said open defecation called for drastic education and urgent action to change the attitudes and behaviours of the people and he will lead a campaign to stamp out the menace.