Ghana has secured $45 million from the World Bank to help deliver basic sanitation services to poor and vulnerable people across the country.
The amount will, among other things, be used to support the household latrine ownership and usage initiative by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources across the country.
The sector Minister, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, announced this in Accra on Wednesday at the launch of a document dubbed: â€œGuidelines for targeting the poor and vulnerable for basic sanitation services in Ghanaâ€.
He said the money was an additional funding under the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project (AF-SRWSP) that aimed at improving on the countryâ€™s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.
According to a 2017 World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund (UNICEF) report, only 14 per cent of Ghanaians have access to basic sanitation, while 19 per cent practise open defecation.
The report also shows that about 19,000 people die from WASH-related diseases in the country every year.
The most affected are the poor and vulnerable, who are also said to be seven times more likely to engage in open defecation.
The situation poses a threat to the countryâ€™s move to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets on the WASH sector by 2030.
Mr Joseph Obeng Poku (left), acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, and Mr Steven Hendrix (right), Deputy Mission Director of USAID Ghana, jointly unveiling a plaque to launch the national guidelines for basic sanitation in Accra.
Relevance of document
It is to address the inequalities by providing a blueprint for the delivery of pro-poor basic sanitation services that the guidelines were launched.
The document was developed by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, in collaboration with stakeholders and civil society organisations (CSOs) in the WASH sector.
Funding for the development of the document was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Communities, an international organisation.
Key stakeholders, such as the Coalition of Non-governmental organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), WaterAid and UNICEF were present at the launch.
Mr Adda, whose speech was delivered on his behalf by the acting Chief Director of the Sanitation Ministry, Mr Joseph Obeng Poku, called on all stakeholders to lend their support to the government to improve on the WASH sector.
â€œThe guidelines will serve as a working document and provide direction and guidance for all stakeholders in the WASH sector to ensure the harmonisation of our collective efforts to achieve the SDGs that relate to water and sanitation,â€ he said.
The Deputy Mission Director of USAID, Mr Steven E. Hendrix, lauded the Sanitation Ministry for taking a bold step to address the sanitation challenges of poor people.
He said prioritising the WASH sector was critical to national development, since its impact cut across other sectors.
The Chief of WASH at UNICEF, Mr David Duncan, said it was important for the government to put more effort into strengthening social protection programmes and pro-poor policies in the WASH sector.
He described the guidelines developed by the Sanitation and Water Resources Ministry as a possible game changer in the delivery of sanitation services to the poor.