Speaker Alban Bagbin has lauded World Vision (WV) Ghana for taking the initiative to kick-start one of the Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) enhancement projects, aimed at improving the livelihood of vulnerable communities.
He also commended all collaborating agencies and partners who had contributed in diverse ways in making the WASH sector project a success story.
The Speaker gave the commendation in a speech read on his behalf at the Parliamentary Dialogue on "Enhancing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services Delivery in Northern Ghana" in Accra.
The programme, which was organised by WV Ghana, sought to engage the direct representatives of the people to analyze the data, discuss the issues with a view to achieving political prioritization of improved WASH services delivery as the foundation for accelerated socio-economic development, and increased investments for sustainable WASH services delivery not only for Northern Ghana, but also for every Ghanaian everywhere.
The strategic objective of WV's WASH Technical Programme in Ghana with the support of the USAID is to ensure that all children, especially the most vulnerable and their families, have access to dignified sanitation, hygienic practices, and safe water supply. Mr Bagbin said it was exciting and laudable to see organisations, groups, and individuals, such as World Vision and USAID so much committed to the welfare of most Ghanaians and developing and implementing initiatives for their well-being. "The excitement stems from the love and selfless interest in water, health and sanitation issues that confront our compatriots in very deprived and vulnerable communities," he said.
"The current initiative dubbed, WASH' is basic to our very existence, and where the delivery of such services is inadequate and far between, the lives of those denied such services could be in jeopardy."
The Speaker said to better meet Ghanaian's requirements for water and sanitation, there was the need to focus on proactive interventions that guarantee that. He said this must be the reason as leaders, it was their responsibility not only to be seen to be protecting the lives of those they lead, but also taking pragmatic and aggressive initiatives to implement far reaching initiatives to remove any menace, such as galamsey, that threaten the livelihood of the nation's water bodies and provision of safe and potable water to the people.
"Together, we can change the not too pleasant narrative on the state of our WASH services delivery and lend a hand in reshaping everyone's destiny." Mr Bagbin appealed to Members of Parliament (MPs) to prioritise the outcomes of the dialogue and to place them at the centre of their development initiatives not only in their constituencies but also in policy decisions of resources allocation on the floor of Parliament.
Mr Dickens Thunde, National Director, WV Ghana, said access to sustainable WASH services was the foundation for improved health, quality education, economic opportunities, increased household income and accelerated socio-economic development. "Indeed, there is a strong correlation between access to WASH services and wellbeing. Therefore, the regions with poor access to WASH are also clearly the poorest in the country," he stated.
He said despite the satisfactory progress, the report of the recent Population and Housing Census (PHC 2021) reveals that almost four million people in Ghana still lack access to safe drinking water, with wide regional disparities. He noted that while access to safe drinking water in the Greater Accra Region stands at 97.6 per cent, access to safe drinking water in the North East Region stands at 54.8 per cent.
"Again, while it is regrettable that 17.7 per cent of Ghana's population practices Open Defecation, it is even more worrying that all the five Northern Regions - Savannah, Northern, North East, Upper East and Upper West, had Open Defecation rates above 50 per cent with Savannah Region and Upper East Regions recording Open Defecation rates of 68.5 per cent and 68.4 per cent respectively," he said.
Mr Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, said Ghana had made some strides towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on water and sanitation and that the country was determined to achieve all the SDGs targets.
He said Ghana's vision for the WASH sector was to ensure sustainable basic water and sanitation services for all by 2025.