Three out of five Ghanaians practice open defecation, UNICEF says, adding that Ghana could take 500 years to eliminate the practice due to the slow pace at which strategies, laws and interventions are being implemented.
Open defecation is the practice of attending natures call in the bush, at the beach, in drains and dump sites.
The Chief Officer at the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, Unit of UNICEF Ghana, David Duncan, notes that in the last 25 years, Ghana made one percent progress at eliminating the practice.
Duncan made these known at a workshop in Cape Coast for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps on open defecation.
According to him, though the current pace is nothing to write home about, he was hopeful Ghana could achieve an Open Defecation Free society within the four-year national target if actions are expedited on all fronts.
Duncan called for attitudinal and behavioral changes among the target groups. He also called for strict enforcement of building regulations to ensure that every household is forced to have toilet facilities.
The first deputy speaker of parliament, Ebo Barton Oduro, noted that an Open Defecation Free Society is possible if landlords would build toilet facilities in the homes.
He called for sustainable sanitation infrastructure in the country to help deal with open defecation.
Oduro added that it was sad to see Ghana lagging behind countries like Mali and Burkina Faso in the fight against Open defecation.
In November last year, president Mahama told Ga Wulomei that government had a $100-million facility for the provision of household toilets in Accra to enhance sanitation.
Ghana had been ranked second after Sudan in Africa for open defecation, with five million Ghanaians not having access to any toilet facility.
The country has also been performing poorly with sanitation coverage of only 15 percent, making the practice of open defecation a key sanitation challenge because people do not have access to key basic facilities.
The poor sanitation issues has cost the country $79million a year and also posed the greatest danger to human health, particularly for the most vulnerable, including young children.