Ghana has been ranked second after Sudan in Africa for open defecation, with five million Ghanaians not having access to any toilet facility.
David Duncan, Chief Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), disclosed this during a breakfast meeting for editors to give them an insight to the problematic issues of open defecation, its environmental and health impacts, particularly on growing children.
Presenting the ‘Menace of Open Defecation’ to the gathering, David Duncan said 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.
The meeting, which was organised as part of this year’s World Toilet Day which falls on November 19, gave editors a deeper understanding of what is at stake if the nation fails to deal with open defecation effectively.
Mr. Duncan mentioned that statistics show that the country has made zero progress in improving sanitation facilities for citizens, with urban situation being better than the rural areas.
According to him, the Upper East Region has the highest open defecation rate with 89 percent, followed by Northern Region with 72 percent and Upper West Region with 71 percent.
He therefore urged government to focus on ending open defecation to prevent the recent cholera outbreak that claimed over 200 lives.
He advised government to introduce a national plan that will facilitate a change in the social norm of open defecation to a point where using toilet facilities will be socially acceptable.