Only 482 of the 3,630 communities in the Central Region are open defecation free, Mr. Emmanuel Freeman Goku, the Regional Director of Environmental Health Office (REHO), has said.
The number represents 14 percent of the communities that have access to decent toilet facilities in the region.
Mr. Goku, who made this known at the launch of the Central Regional branch of the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODE) in Cape Coast, described the situation as “worrying”.
The M-CODE is being sponsored by World Vision and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Mr. Goku said greater percentage of people in the region practice open defecation, saying there is the need for the collaboration of all stakeholders as well as right attitudinal change to reduce the menace to the barest minimum.
He said more than 1.1 million, representing 38.5 percent of the region’s population, have access to improved basic sanitation, and stressed the need for more to be done to increase the number of people to enjoy better facilities.
The Regional Director noted that open defecation is dangerous, and could cause destruction to human activities with its rampant sicknesses, including diarrhea, cholera and host of others.
He noted that the menace is not only draining the economy, but also hindering the country’s growth and development, especially tourism, and encouraged the media to own the cause of championing the fight against open defecation.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, the National Convener of M-CODE, said the objective of the coalition is to support the crusade against the phenomenon in the country through a coordinated and more aggressive policy influence and public sensitization.
He said M-CODE would continue to celebrate open defecation free communities and hardworking individuals in the fight against the menace.
It will also monitor to ensure that the existing policies and strategies related to the fight against the canker were implemented effectively.
For her part, Mrs. Alice Tettey, the Acting Regional Chairperson of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), encouraged members to work diligently to ensure the aim was achieved.
She urged them to increase education and sensitization through their platforms to get the public to better understand the issues at hand to influence attitudes for the better.
The coalition’s members pledged their unflinching commitment towards ending open defecation in the region.