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Tamale metro ranks last in open defecation in the northern region



Say it isn’t so; the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMa) placed 26th among the 26 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the second edition of the Open Defecation Freed (ODF) league table in the northern region. All in all, the (TaMa) managed to garner just 10 points.

Tamale metropolis was beaten by infant district-Mion, which came in first with 73 points and was followed by Nanumba North, Karaga and Zabzugu districts respectively.

Mion district according to the regional inter-agency coordinating committee on sanitation environmental health and sanitation unit has the least percentage of people practicing open defecation. It also has the highest ODF communities in the region.

The inter-agency committee says efforts by the Mion assembly, field officers and WASH partners were effective in addressing sanitation in the area. Mion, Nanumba North, Karaga and Zabzugu the committee said have performed better, but yet to achieve their district wide ODF score of between 85 and 100%.

Addressing district coordinating directors and some stakeholders including donor partners in sanitation during the launch of 2nd open defecation league table in Tamale, the Northern Regional Coordinating Director Alhaji Issahaku Alhssan was not happy that only 15% of people in Ghana do not practice ODF in Ghana.

This, he said, accounts for Ghana spending huge sums of money in the health sector to ensure that its citizens get good healthcare services.

Ghana, the coordinating director said, is second to Sudan in open defecation in Africa and northern region is second in Ghana. Alhaji Issahaku could not also understand why the region with about 30 nongovernmental organizations and partners working in Water and Sanitation issues and yet its capital town dominates in open defecation. The sad aspect of this that, the region gets more support in the area of sanitation, we are on top.

The regional coordinating council in 2015 made a commitment that by the end of December 2017, the region should record zero open defecation and challenged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to work hard for the region to achieve its set target.

“Are we on track to achieving the target we set for ourselves?” the coordinating director asked the MMDAs.

The region, the coordinating said has no challenge when it comes to personnel as far as environmental health management is concern and charged the MMDAs to show serious commitment in fighting poor sanitation in their respective areas.

The league table, the coordinating director explained was to create a positive competition among MMDAs in the region in fighting ODF, facilitating MMDAs to implement the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS ) as a government policy and program and as a donor project.

It was also to facilitate MMDAs to own and support the CLTS for sustainability with emanate reduction and withdrawal of donors as well as facilitate MMDAs to reduce dependence on donor funds among others. In Tamale metro alone there are over 100 environmental health personnel, so personnel was no more a challenge at all to the MMDAs in the region, he added.

Given the overview of ODF communities in the region since the launch of the league table in June 2012, the total of open defecation free communities were 204, the Regional Open Coordinator, Mr. Dawuda Y. Shaibu said.

The number he explained has increased by 1050% From June to 31st December 2016, from 204 to 503  communities.

The total number of households toilets he said increased astronomically which he said was remarkable.

Mr. Shaibu said even though the there was improvement in the fight against the menace, stakeholders need to increase their effort to reduce the problem in over 402 communities in the region.

Nature of public toilets in the city

The metropolis poor performance in open defecation according to some residents is largely due to the bad nature of most public toilets. They pointed to the poor maintenance of the facilities by managers which they described as death-traps. “The entrances to the the toilets are dangerous and if you take your bath before visiting you will bath again,” a regular user told Zaa News.

Since the government implemented its policy of no more constructing public toilets in the communities, the onus has now fallen on residents to pick up the slack. However, about 70% of houses in the regional capital-Tamale has no place of convenience and the nature of houses makes it difficult to construct these much needed facilities.

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