Water Crisis Hits Yendi Hospital

The front view of the Yendi Hospital

 

Reports reaching DAILY GUIDE indicate that the Yendi Hospital in the Northern Region risks closure over shortage of water at the facility.

Investigations conducted revealed that the hospital buys water five times daily from tanker drivers.

The hospital pays GH¢750 daily for water supply because a tanker of water is sold at GH¢50 to the facility.

A staff who spoke to DAILY GUIDE on condition of anonymity said the situation is a very big challenge to the hospital because they spend a lot on buying water.

A visit to the Yendi Hospital by the paper revealed that family members of patients on admission at the facility carry water from their various homes to the hospital for their patients.

In recent times, the Yendi Municipality has been hit with water shortage in the area, thereby, affecting business activities of residents.

The only source of water in the area which is the Dakar dam is slowly drying up day in day out, hence creating panic among residents.

The Yendi Hospital Public Relations Officer (PRO), Alhassan Wemah, told DAILY GUIDE that the hospital is a referral point for 12 districts in the Eastern Corridor and “so the water situation is worrying”.

According to him, the facility uses water more than any other thing simply because the entire department at the hospital demands water.

Mr Wemah disclosed that some relatives of patients who do not come from Yendi normally use water at the facility to bathe and wash the clothing of their relatives on admission.

He said even though Tamale Teaching Hospital is a referral point, Yendi Hospital receives more referral cases because of the number of district surrounding it.

The PRO appealed to the authorities in charge of the water situation to, as a matter of urgency, speed up the process to find a lasting solution to the problem in Yendi.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Essakyir T.I. Ahmadiyya SHS faces acute water shortage

By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA
Essakyir (C/R), March 10, GNA – The students and staff of Essakyir T.I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School (SHS) in Ekumfi District of the Central Region are facing an acute water problem, which is disrupting teaching and learning at the school.

Mr Mohammed Quantson, Headmaster of the school in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), described the situation as one that was unbearable for school authorities as it affected academic work.

The school spends about Gh¢900.00 every week on water and that, he said was taking a toll on the finances of the school.

He said the school has since its establishment not been connected to the Ghana Water Company’s system and appealed to the Government to help bring portable water to the school.

‘The only borehole supplying about 1,251 students and over 80 teaching and non-teaching staff of the school is very salty and difficult to use,’ he said.

Mr Quantson also mentioned the increasing student population as another problem and expressed fear that overcrowding in the dormitories could be worse, indicating that ‘it will be a great relief to us if the dormitory block is completed for us’.

Other challenges enumerated by the headmaster included inadequate classrooms, staff accommodation and poor road network in the school.

He has therefore appealed to old students, non- governmental organisations, philanthropists and other corporate institutions to come to the aid of the school.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Water still our problem – Abutia women

Abutia-Kloe, March 10, GNA – Women at Abutia-Kloe in the Ho West District said access to potable water remained their greatest challenge in the farming community.

The women said they walked several kilometres to fetch water from streams after one of the two boreholes provided by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) broke down.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at a forum by the Department of Gender to mark this year’s International Women’s Day at Abutia-Kloe, the women said it was an odd spectacle to see girls and women going round the community and beyond in search of water around 0400 hours.

They said in most situations, they returned home at about 0900 hours with little or no water for use at home.

A middle-aged woman who spoke on anonymity said the problem was affecting their tie and dye and gari and oil processing businesses.

She said the situation was also affecting the education of girls who were tasked to search for water before and after school, some of whom fell prey to boys and men, increasing cases of teenage pregnancy in the community.

Madam Boateng Sitsofe Ama, Assemblywoman, Abutia-Kloe Electoral Area, said the over 3,000 people living within the area depended on one borehole.

Madam Sitsofe said those who fetched water from the streams had the laborious task of sieving and boiling the water to avoid contracting waterborne diseases.

Ms Comfort Ablormeti, Volta Regional Director of the Department of Gender expressed worry about the situation and called for the empowerment of rural women economically, so they could contribute more to national development.

The forum was themed, ‘Economic Empowerment of Rural Women: A Tool for Sustainable Development in a Changing World of Work’.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Ghana’s Environmental Sanitation Policy; Have We Made Progress?

By: Francis Diawuo,

Chocked Gutters and Stagnant Wasters producing unsavory odour

 

The National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP) was prepared by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. It was approved by Cabinet at its meeting held on Thursday 8th April, 1999 and revised in 2010 to redirect the country’s efforts to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The policy was approved by Cabinet at its meeting of 31st March 2010, with various directives towards achieving desired environmental sanitation standards. Environmental Sanitation was identified in Ghana’s programme of economic and social development in “Vision 2020” as a key element underlying health and human development. It identifies aspects of improved management of human settlements and environmental protection as key factors.

Consistent with the national socio-economic development frameworks such as GPRSII, MDGs and the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the overall goal of the Environmental Sanitation Policy was to develop and maintain a clean, safe and pleasant physical environment in all human settlements, to promote the social, economic and physical well-being of all sections of the population. Achieving this height, the following policy objectives were outlined; (a) Collection and sanitary disposal of wastes, including solid wastes, liquid wastes, excreta, industrial wastes, health care and other hazardous wastes; (b) Storm water drainage; (c) Cleansing of thoroughfares, markets and other public spaces; (d) Control of pests and vectors of disease; (e) Food hygiene; (f) Environmental sanitation education; (g) Inspection and enforcement of sanitary regulations; (h) Disposal of the dead; (i) Control of rearing and straying of animals; (j) Monitoring the observance of environmental standards.

By the year 2020, the NESP is expected to have achieved the following;

  1. National Environmental Sanitation Day is established by legislation and observed regularly;
  2. All solid wastes generated in urban areas are regularly collected and disposed of in adequately controlled landfills or by other environmentally acceptable means;
  3. All pan latrines are phased out (by 2010);
  4. At least 90% of the population has access to an acceptable domestic toilet and the remaining 10% has access to hygienic public toilet.
  5. The majority of environmental sanitation services are provided by the private sector.

Successes of the National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP)

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey of 2012 indicated that 71% of the population is using improved variety of household latrines ranging from flush toilets connected to sewer or septic tanks, VIP latrines and pit latrines with slabs. It also reported a high percentage of usage of improved facilities in urban areas (about 83%) as against less than 45% for rural areas. Data from the draft report on 5th Round of the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSSV) gives coverage of 26.6% and 21.9% in 2006 for urban and rural areas respectively, while the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (DHS, 2008) gave a coverage of improved sanitation facilities of 11.3%.The MDG target of reducing by half the proportion of people without access to improved water has been achieved ahead of time. The establishment of institutions proposed initially by the policy and healthy partnership with private sector agencies in the management of waste is a success. Though sanitation problems still exist, there has been an improvement over the 1999 figures in terms of service provision. However, these statistics though seem favourable, most of the proposed outcomes and objectives of the policy are still yet to be achieved.

Efficiency of the National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP)

The carefully drafted and well purposed sanitation policy of Ghana is battling to live beyond theory. Although responsibilities have been assigned to individuals, local communities and private firms, the average Ghanaian only realizes the existence of these responsible bodies in terms of cost, but not benefits. Most Ghanaians do not even know the existence of such policies. The flaws in ensuring environmental sanitation could be analyzed with reference to services such as water supply, drainage systems and more importantly solid waste management, etc. A careful look at the linkage between the MDGs and now the SDGs reveals that environmental sustainability is outstanding in development. Although the Government of Ghana is committed to the principles of the MDGs, SDGs and other development frameworks, such commitments have all but failed.

The efficiency of environmental sanitation services to a large extent is contingent on their reliability and regularity of service provision. The issue of direct cost recovery from users pursued by service providers is usually seen as a burden by the consumer. The policy specifies that where full direct cost recovery is not possible, the shortfall or the cost of any service not charged for shall be subsidized by the Assembly. A major problem in this regard, however is how to generate revenue to cover the cost of sanitation services by the Assembly. The policy sanctions the use of the Polluter-Pays Principle to correspond with the cost of restoring environmental damage, however this is hardly practiced. The willingness to pay for sanitation services is a general problem. People prefer to use illegal dumping sites to paying for collection. Due to the difficulty in recovering cost in most cases, the public has entrusted most sanitation provision mandates to private sector agencies such as Zoomlion Ghana Limited, etc. These entities, however tend to skew their services to individuals or communities who can afford, but not to those who really need the services.

Few years ago, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development began what was called the National Sanitation Day on the first Saturday of every month in fulfilment of the NESP. Although the whole idea was laudable and intended to arouse the consciousness and desire of people to live clean, it was seen by many Ghanaians as a ‘political gimmick’. But wait, may be it was a political gimmick after all because the ‘National Sanitation Day’ was marred with corruption, politicization and lukewarmness from Ghanaians. Our lack of commitment as citizens to sanitation issues is making our environment dirtier every blessed day. Unequivocally, I can say that the state of Ghana’s environmental sanitation is dirt, filth, obscenity, indecency and trash; waste everywhere. Our gutters are chocked with plastics and stagnant waters, streets are dirty with gibberish, and fly-tipping is rampantly on the riser. The implications of this is stench, unsavory odour and sickness. The Assemblies are not able to collect and dispose of waste materials in the most appropriate ways regularly as premised in the policy.

Access to hygienic toilet facilities in Ghana is unpalatable. The easiest way for people to defecate in Ghana is through open defecation. Open defecators usually cite the lack of finances, insufficient funds, “too expensive,” or “don’t have money” as key barriers to building latrines or making improvements on their toilet facilities. Ghana is ranked the second country in Africa for open defecation with a whopping five million and over of Ghanaians without access to any toilet facility. In the Upper East, Northern and Upper West regions of the country, 89%, 72% and 71% of people respectively are without access to any toilet facilities, hence resort to open defecation. These among other unaccounted problems are bringing the country’s environmental situation back to where it began.

So, have we as a country made progress in achieving the objectives of the National Environmental Policy? To me the successes of the policy though commendable cannot match the lacuna of problems that are still unresolved. Maybe you can be the best Judge!

Recommendations on the Environmental Sanitation Policy

A Change in Popular Attitudes
The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II (GPRS II) noted that lack of self-discipline is the cause of most sanitation related problems (such as improper disposal of waste) the country is facing. The throwing of plastic waste “anywhere” by Ghanaians without due regards to the physical environment need to be curtailed. Effective public sensitization could be adopted to change the irresponsible behaviour of some people towards the environment. People need to be educated on the need to respect and value environmental resources. Maybe the problems are already existing but changing our attitudes towards environmental resources, stopping indiscriminate felling of trees, planting more trees, recycling and reusing waste materials can help curtail the problems. Without these, our common resources will continue to be imperil by users.

Proper Auditing/Strengthening of Environmental related Institutions;

Prior to the introduction of the policy some institutions were established to facilitate the achievement of policy objectives. However, some of these institutions are so dormant in carrying out their mandates. Wrong people are placed at right positions in some instances. There is the need to formulate mechanisms for regular auditing especially at the MMDAs and other public agencies in their efforts towards achieving policy objectives.

Intensify Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

A major challenge of the sanitation policy is funding. This has prompted the partnership with private agencies which have had their fair share of criticisms especially in economic sense. Soliciting donor support, formulating strategies to generate funds internally by various Assemblies, among other alternatives can be adopted to supplement government allocations.

Introduction of on-the-spot fines
Popular attitudes towards sanitation and common pool resources in general could be curtailed by introducing on-the-spot fines for culprits. These could range from cash to sanitation related community services such as cleaning of gutters. This will discourage open defecation, urinating at unauthorized places, fly-tipping and other improper disposal of solid and liquid wastes across the country. It is however pathetic sometimes that the very people reposed with the responsibility of ensuring order are themselves culprits. This notwithstanding the security services need to be firm and intrepid in dealing with culprits of environmental laws in the country.

Minimise the use of Plastic bags
Plastic waste to a large extent is non-biodegradable. The practice whereby goods are packed in plastic materials (even when one buys a sachet of water) should be discouraged. Consumers should develop the habit of reusing plastic bags such as polythene and cellophane, among others. Although paper bags are comparatively expensive, where they are available, consumers should always take good of them for reuse.

Francis Diawuo,
Email: diawuofrancis@gmail.com
Green Minds Ghana Initiative,
University for Development Studies -Wa, Ghana.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Water shortage spreads across communities in four regions

By: Austin Brako-Powers, myjoyonline.com

 

Several communities across the country are faced with acute water shortage, a situation officials blame on destructive human activities.

Residents in the Northern, Central, Western and Brong Ahafo Regions are left with no option but of trekking miles to access water from rivers that are fast drying up.

Officials of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) have attributed the shortage to drought and activities of illegal miners.

The company, a week ago, was compelled to shut down its plant in Sunyani in Brong Ahafo Region after the Tano River dried up for the first time in over 40 years. Sellers, school children and restaurant operators are the worst hit.

Reports by Joy News Regional Correspondents point to what appears to be a looming danger if authorities fail to act swiftly.

Central Regional Correspondent, Richard Kojo Nyarko reports that residents in Abura, a suburb of Cape Coast have been without water for nearly three weeks.

He said officials of GWCL have explained the situation is due to the erratic nature of power supply as well as activities of illegal miners.

“The water comes on for awhile and goes off, but for the past few weeks people don’t have water,” the reporter said.

The situation in the Northern Region is more complex, Regional correspondent Hashmin Mohammed reported.

He said the GWCL has been unable to preserve enough water for distribution due to some technical challenges.

Residents of Yendi would soon be left with no option than to drink contaminated water if authorities do not intervene because the Dakar river which supplement water produced by the GWCL is drying up.

The reporter said GWCL officials have promised to arrange for a water tanker to supply the people with water.

“That will mean that the service tankers will have to fetch the water from Tamale and journey to Yendi,” Hashmin said envisaging difficulties with the solution.

The situation in the Western Regional capital Sekondi-Takoradi is not any different. The Bosomase River is also drying up due to the impact of the activities of galamsey operators.

Residents say the situation has persisted for more than a month and have called on Water officials to address the shortage.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is warning the Pra River in the Western Region may dry up as it has happened to the Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Director for Natural Resources at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Carl Fiati said the failure of law enforcers to deal with illegal mining is compounding the problem.

“There will be the need for all to get involved, particularly the security agencies, to act decisively [but] this has not taken place and this is the result.”

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

CONIWAS tasks Sanitation ministry to enforce bye-laws

By: Deborah Apetorgbor, GNA


Accra, Mar. 1, GNA – The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has tasked the new Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to eliminate all obstacles inhibiting the effective implementation of sanitation bye-laws.

The group said though education and sensitisation on sanitation and water had been progressive, lack of enforcement of the law had and would continue to have negative impacts on the effective execution of most initiatives in the sector.

Mr Benjamin Lartey, Spokesperson of the Civil Societies and Community Groups in Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH), at a media briefing on Wednesday, said though laws existed in the country against environmental degradation and sanitation, enforcement was weak and that had resulted in the poor sanitation condition prevalent today.

‘There is every indication that our enforcement institutions do not have the required capacities to enforce the laws,’ he said and added that many people continuously flout the laws yet go unpunished as the laws were not enforced to prosecute offenders.

He implored the Sanitation and Water Resources Minister to focus his attention and energy to section six of the Millennium Development Goals (SGDs) which stipulate the improvement in water quality, reduction in pollution, and the protection of water-related ecosystems.

Mr Lartey noted that these targets ‘are necessary for Ghana as the value for renewable internal sources of freshwater resources per capita had reduced drastically from 4,276 in 1962 to 1,131 in 2014,’ within a span of 52 years.

He observed that as much as education and sensitisation were powerful tools to combat sanitation challenges, enforcement of the bye-laws also played an indispensable role in realising the SDGs.

The WASH expert also mentioned that government had to complement the efforts of various households financially in the provision of household toilet facilities, as presently ‘there was no clear funding mechanism for household toilets’, and the burden of cost could not rest on the households alone.

He said more than five million people practised open defecation, with only a meagre 15 per cent Ghanaian households using improved household toilets adding that the problem of open defecation had to be tackled at the root as they were no decent toilets at home.

CONIWAS therefore believed that a sure way to reverse the situation would be for the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to ‘pay particular attention to financing household toilet facilities by establishing a fund at the district level,’ adding that a percentage of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund could be set aside for that purpose.

The Coalition however pledged its support to the sector Ministry as it had gathered a wealth of experience since its establishment in 2003.

Present at the media briefing were 10 Civil Society Groups, 10 Community groups and representations from the media.

 

Source: modernghana.com

South Africa: Fed-Up With Waiting, Residents of Informal Settlement Sort Out Their Own Water Supply

Fed-up with waiting for the authorities to help, residents of Santini informal settlement in Butterworth took matters into their own hands in 2011. After years of fetching water from the town nearby, residents decided to hire a plumber to connect a pipe to the main water line supplying the town. But residents remain without electricity or sanitation and they want the municipality to provide these services.

People have been living in Santini for 13 years. The 232 families came from around the Eastern Cape looking for jobs in Butterworth. Unable to pay rent in the township, they built shacks at Santini.

“There was a time where we were living without water,” said Tshepo Mbuqe, 28. “Then, as residents, we decided to generate money so that we can instal water pipes for ourselves. We asked every household to donate R30 … Then, we bought pipes. We hired a plumber … That is why we have water today … If we were to wait for government to give us water, we would wait until Jesus comes.”

Mbuqe said, “We are getting nothing from government in terms of service delivery. We still relieve ourselves in the bushes because we do not have toilets. It is very difficult to put pit toilets in the yard because our yards are very small.”

He said some people had illegal electricity connections; others used paraffin and candles, which was a fire risk.

“People who live in shacks are not taken seriously [by the municipality],” said Mbuqe.

Street committee member Nomvuzo Mthenjana said they wanted houses on the land where they were currently living. “Most of the [Santini] people are selling [hawking] in town and the clinic, hospital, banks, shop, schools and police station are not far for us,” she said.

Councillor Zolani Siyo said, “Government is still looking for land to build houses for the people of Santini.” He said it was difficult to develop the area because it was in the flood plain of a river and the land belonged to traditional leaders.

But traditional leader Chief Mlungisi Tsipa told GroundUp that the land belonged to the municipality. “I do not understand why the councillor says this land belongs to us,” he said. “Those shacks are built on the land of the municipality.”

Source: allafrica.com

Liberia: MOH to Embark On Water Inspection

In the midst of the huge proliferation of Mineral Water Companies, the Ministries of Health, Commerce and Industries, Public Works and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are soon to embark on a vigorous inspection campaign.

Making the disclosure over the weekend at his Health Ministry’s Office, the Director for Division of Environmental and occupational Health, Director Dehwhen O. Yeabah said his division has the mandate to ensure the safe of drinking water in line with the public health law and the inspection will be done in collaboration with the Association of Liberia Water Producers (ALWP) to identify wanted companies and sub-standard companies.

Director Yeabah said the concern of sanitation at water producing cites have been key to his department and the ministry, adding that they have been working with couples of those companies to ensure that waste management is improve.

According to him, they have already served notice to several of those companies on the basis of waste management, “We have been working with Aqua Life, Oasis, York and couple of other water companies to have collaboration in improving the sector as it relates to sanitation, though they have not have the situation where companies have fail to corporate.

“We know that some of those companies are operating illegally in corners that we are not know of, but what method we have formulated is to form a taskforce which we have already developed the terms of reference what we will be during in the coming two weeks is to operationalize that task force which is comprised of the Ministries of Health as head, EPA and Commerce,” he said.

The health authority maintained that they are in the know that those legal mineral water companies are being strangulated by those companies that are not register with government, adding that they flood the market with alleged contaminated and polluted water, even though he said he cannot defense those legal companies, but he said the ministry has been working with them the they have improved they facilities.

He said during their inspection campaign, those illegal water companies will be ordered closed down, “But if you are legal companies but your facility is not up to standard, we give you time and if you fail to prepare your place after during our campaign for the second time, we ask the court to close you facility.

Director Yeabah mentioned that good working relationship with the Association of Liberia Water Producers (ALWP) and on the basis of that, they are asking nonregistered companies to register with the ALWP, with that, he said it will be easier for the ministry to identify them or else, they will be considered as splinter group.

Source: allafrica.com

Local governance and sanitation: Eight lessons from Uganda

The magnitude of the sanitation crisis means that sanitation and hygiene solutions must be delivered sustainably, and on a large scale. This requires the close involvement of government at all levels. A new case study outlines eight lessons from the Global Sanitation Fund-supported Uganda Sanitation Fund in coordinating, planning, and implementing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) at scale through a decentralized government system.

Download the case study or read the feature article on wsscc.org.

image1_uganda_case_st

Local government health workers and latrine owners proudly display an improved latrine in Lira district, Uganda.©WSSCC/USF

 

Source: sanitation updates

Water crisis: Tano River dries up for the first time in 40 years

Illegal mining activities in the Brong Ahafo region have silted the Tano River causing it to dry up for the first time in 40 years.

Despite the long period of drought in the region, the residents believe the increasing activities of galamsey operators significantly contributed to the siltation of the river which is the source of water supply to homes.

The Ghana Water Company (GWC) in the region’s capital Sunyani, has had to shut down its water treatment plant which drew its water mainly the Tano River.

Many communities have resorted to fetching water from dug-outs and wells for domestic use.

Joy News’ Mohammed Nurudeen paid a visit to some communities in the area and reports that many residents are struggling to get water.

Students, traders and other businesses, he reports, have had to abandon some of their regular daily activities to join long queues in search for water.

A young girl whose schooling is being affected by the development told Mohammed it is extremely difficult to get water to bath.

Her mother, she added, also struggles to get water to prepare meals at home.

Another resident said “for more than one month now, the taps in my house do not flow. So every night, I have to roam about in search for water…even the little to use in bathing is a problem.”

Regional Chief Manager of the GWC, Charles Brobbey said the company has shut down the treatment plant due to the drying up of the river.

“Initially, when we saw that the water level was going down, we decided to manage the little water we had, we did it for two weeks then we realized that the levels were going down further.

“So we were doing 50 percent capacity intermittently so the capacity was far reduced, but as I speak to you now, we have shut down the plant completely,” he added.

 

Source: modernghana.com