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Towards the Cleanest City in Africa: Are We Winning the Sanitation Battle?

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The importance of a clean nation and society cannot be overemphasized, and the need for governments to bring innovative policies and regulations aimed at winning the sanitation battle is urgent, to say the least.

Goal six (6) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) enjoins countries to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, and this only underscores the importance we need to place on issues of sanitation as a country.

Ghana was recently ranked the 48th country in Africa with the worst progress in sanitation by the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Team at the AfricanSan+5 International Conference on Sanitation held in Durban, South Africa.

The report, which assessed 51 African countries, also ranked Ghana the 14th out of 15 countries in West Africa with poor sanitation record.

Similarly, Ghana was ranked second after Sudan in Africa, by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for open defecation, a development that costs the country some $79million a year, and also posses the greatest danger to the health of the citizenry, with some five million (5m) not having access to any toilet facility and twenty million (20m) not having access to basic improved sanitation.

The rains are here with us, and the latest rains that graced Accra and its environs resulted in unbearable flooding.

For it to have caught the mind of the President, Akufo-Addo’s promise to ensure that Accra becomes the cleanest city in Africa only confirms the seriousness of the issue of sanitation.

The hydra-headed questions, however, are: ‘are we winning the sanitation battle as a country? What has become of the President’s pledge to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa? What are our priorities as a nation, and what destiny do we want to carve for ourselves?

No year passes without us being confronted with the issue of flooding. Where did we lose our thinking cup as a nation?

Ironically, whilst we blindly copy adverse foreign cultures and practices, we refuse to copy their mentality, cleanliness and their respect and adherence to laws and rules.

The multi-million dollar question therefore is: Are we committed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and are our policy makers committed to lead the crusade for its achievement?

THE PUBLISHER seeks to awaken all Ghanaians to the gloomy future that stares us in the face, the urgency of the need to reinvent the wheel, and the urgency for government and policy makers to device innovative and sustainable ways of dealing with the sanitation problems of the country, especially in our urban areas.

This is about the health and welfare of the citizenry and it is a duty imposed by the constitution and by the sovereign will of the people on our leaders to ensure that we are healthy and safe as a people.

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