The Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) has called on the government and development partners to extend the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) Sanitation and Water Project (GKMA, SWP) to other parts of the country.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, the M-CODe National Convenor, has stressed the need for expansion to ensure that the citizenry outside the urban areas also benefit from the project.
He urged the GKMA SWP to extend its reach by adopting at least one Metropolitan or Municipal area in low-income communities to increase access to improved sanitation and water supply.
He made the call during an extensive engagement with M-CODe regional stakeholders across the country that supports the idea of extending and expanding the GKMA project.
Mr. Ameyibor pleaded with both the government and the World Bank to urgently consider the expansion.
Commenting on the M-CODe Empowerment Summit, he explained that it was an integral part of the M-CODe 2023 Anti-Open Defecation Nationwide Advocacy efforts supported by World Vision Ghana.
He noted that the aim is to build alliances with strategic stakeholders, including the Regional Coordinating Councils, Environmental Health Departments, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Community Water and Sanitation Agency and the Department of Community Development.
Other stakeholders involved in the campaign against open defecation include the Department of Gender, the National Commission for Civic Education, Regional Environmental Officers, the Environmental Protection Agency and various civil society organisations.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Sanitation and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development are working tirelessly to revitalise activism and transform society into one free from open defecation.
As part of the national effort to eradicate open defecation, Mr Ameyibor observed the importance of empowerment through capacity building, connecting key players in the battle against open defecation, and creating a platform to address communities still practicing open defecation.
Mr. Yaw Atta Arhin, the World Vision Ghana Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Technical Specialist, stressed the importance of collaboration between stakeholders to achieve the goal of ending open defecation by 2030.
He said though there is recent political and public interest, yet progress in that regard has been disappointingly slow and called on the Ministry of Sanitation to continue providing leadership and strategic direction for implementing the roadmap to end open defecation in Ghana.
Mr. Arhin also lamented the tragic fact that preventable diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, and typhoid claim the lives of children every year because of lack of basic sanitation facilities and proper hygiene practices.
Meanwhile, Residents of some of Municipalities in the Ashanti region are urging the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area, Sanitation and Water Project (GKMA, SWP) to ensure that they prioritise the inclusion of most of the municipalities for the effective and efficient implementation of the project.
According to residents of Atimatim-Tabuom, which falls between the Afigya Kwabre South District and Kwabre East Municipality, in the Ashanti region, most of the households are without public places of convenience and dumping sites to serve the residents.
The residents complained that sometimes it takes two weeks before their refuse is evacuated from the entrance and gates of their residences by private individuals, thus posing post health danger to the residents.