ACCRA, Ghana — in a significant move to improve sanitation and reduce open defecation, Dr. Freda Akosua Prempeh, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resource, has urged households to build their own toilets. This advice was part of her speech at the press launch commemorating the 2023 World Toilet Day on Monday, November 20.
According to Ghana News Agency, the Ministry is dedicated to its ‘Toilet for All’ programme, which aims to increase access to toilets across Ghana. She stressed the importance of stopping open defecation and urged Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies to enforce bylaws mandating the construction of toilets in both private and public buildings. The Minister highlighted the need for basic schools and healthcare facilities to provide well-maintained and accessible toilets for all pupils, students, patients, and visitors.
The theme for this year’s World Toilet Day, ‘Accelerating Change through Strategic Partnership: Every Contribution Counts,’ underscores the role of partnerships in the government’s efforts to expand toilet access in the country. The event is designed to break the taboo surrounding toilets and raise awareness about the challenges faced by approximately 3.5 billion people worldwide in accessing basic toilet services.
The Ministry has planned various activities, including a Mini Community Durbar at Mpoase Community Park in Dansoman Last Stop, Greater Accra Region, media discussions, and community sensitization activities. Other activities involve statements on the floor of Parliament and the dissemination of sanitation messages in churches and mosques.
Dr. Prempeh called upon the media, partners, the private sector, civil society, and citizens to assist in sensitizing the public about the necessity of having a toilet at home. She noted that Ghana has made significant progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on water and sanitation. The percentage of the population with access to basic drinking water services increased from 79% in 2017/2018 to 87.7% in 2021, while access to improved toilet facilities, including shared toilets, rose from 66% to 80.8% during the same period.
Under the Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihoods Improvement Project (GASSLIP), the Ministry has provided 5000 household toilets in the Greater Accra Region and 60 Institutional Toilet Facilities. Dr. Prempeh highlighted the ongoing global concern over the lack of access to improved toilets. According to the Ghana Statistical Service, 17.7% of households in Ghana practice open defecation, while only 25.3% have exclusive access to toilets.
The government’s investment in several projects aims to eradicate open defecation and enhance safe sanitation practices. The GAMA Project, concluded in December 2020, delivered 48,641 improved household toilets and 406 modern, disability-friendly institutional toilet facilities. The project’s next phase will expand and rehabilitate the Asafo Sewerage System in Kumasi and provide additional household and institutional toilets in the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Areas. Component One of the Project also includes extending potable water by laying 120km of pipelines and establishing telemetry and retooling of the Ghana Water Limited meter shop in Greater Kumasi.