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Minister declares Saturday as sanitation day as open defecation & filth situation worsens in the northern Region


In spite of the progress in dealing with Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the region from   21.5% in 2016 to 61.4% in 2020 and 62.6% projection for 2021 in the Community Led Total Sanitation, there is a warring trend in ODF, Northern Regional Council raises alarm.

Available data from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and sanitation unit pointed a worsening sanitation situation in in communities in the region. Tamale Metro, Sagnarigu municipality, Savelugu, Kumbungu and Tolon districts tops in open defecation compare to Yendi, Tatale and Kpandai with improved sanitation situation.

Out of 116 communities in the Tamale metro, only one community do not practice open defecation. In the case of Saganrigu municipality with 83 communities, only 10 do not practicing open defecation, remaining 73 still engaged in open defecation.  

Kumbungu district has 136 communities and only 38 communities not practicing open defecation, 98 communities defecating in the open. In the Savelugu municipality with total of 76 communities, only 16 are not practicing open defecation and Tolon with the total of 115 communities, only 27 are not defecating in the open.

Three districts in eastern corridor such as Tatale/Sanguli, Yendi and Kpandia has recorded significant improvement in open defecation. For instance, Tatale district has 170 Open Defecation Free (ODF) communities and only 4 still practice it.

Kpandai district has 245 communities and only 28 still practice ODF whilst Yendi municipality has 224, only 24 communities still practice ODF.

The Northern Regional Council on Thursday 20 May 2021, launched a major sanitation campaign Christine; ’’Operation Clean Northern Region’’.

The launch of the program was necessitated by the filthy nature of Tamale including choke gutters, abandoned heaps of waste and the practice of open defecation.  

Speaking at the launch, the northern regional minister Alhaji Sheni Alhassan Shaibu said the practice of open defecation together with the wide spread of filth can be very detrimental to the health of individuals and constitute to a major threat to the lives of people.

N/R Minister, Alhaji Alhassan Shaibu

The commencement of’ ’Operation Clean Northern Region’’ he said is a direct response to reawaken efforts and action to deal with this menace.

Five-member committee

A five-member regional sensitization committee headed by the regional environmental and health officer has been constituted with the mandate of rolling out sensitization activities with the aim of realizing the objective of operation clean northern region beginning from 20 to 21 May, 2021.

The has National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Information Service Department as its key with each member expected to work out modalities to sustain the days designated for sanitation.

Sanitation Day

The minister has also declared Saturday,29th May, 2021 as regional Sanitation day and last Saturday of every month also set aside as Northern Region Sanitation Day.

All MMDAs in collaboration with Zoomlion Ghana ae expected to carry out community mobilization to embark on clean up exercise including clearing of heaps of refuse, collection of plastic rubbers, cleaning of choked gutters among others in all major towns and districts across the region.

All MMDAs the minister said are also expected to identified. Zoomlion Ghana, he said will assist in making available all require tools to ensure success of the exercise. He also tasked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to liaised with religious and traditional leaders, youth groups, market women, GPRTU, opinion leaders and political parties. 

A platform he assured will be created for the committee to identified gaps after the clean-up exercise. He also announced last Saturday of every month as sanitation day in the region.

On the penalties against people who violate the sanitation bylaws in the various MMDAs, the minister directed all sanitation department of assemblies to enforce sanitation bylaws adding that people will be prosecuted for offenders.

Even the security forces were not to be included during the exercise, a minimum number of the will be involved.

In December 2020, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has begun a nationwide evacuation of old refuse in the country.
The exercise was to ensure that all refuse at designated places in the various metropolitan, municipal and district Assemblies were cleared.  However, most of the assemblies still engulf in filth  leading to another government action.

2020 emergency waste evacuation

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