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Open Defecation prevalence reaches alarming levels in Bolgatanga Municipality

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The Bolgatanga Municipality in the Upper East Region reports a concerning 27.7 percent prevalence of Open Defecation (OD). The overall Upper East Region stands at over 50 percent, according to Evans Bornaa, the Bolgatanga Municipal Environmental Health Officer.

During an interview on the Day Break Upper East Show with Mark Smith on July 24, 2023, Mr. Bornaa shed light on the sanitation situation in the area. To address the issue, plans are underway to establish a dedicated task force responsible for apprehending individuals engaged in open defecation during early mornings and late nights, with subsequent court appearances for offenders

The escalating prevalence of Open Defecation poses significant health and environmental challenges in the Bolgatanga Municipality, according to Mr. Bornaa. Speaking on A1 Radio’s morning show, the Environmental Health Officer explained that sanitary practices like these can lead to the spread of diseases, contamination of water sources, and a negative impact on the overall well-being of the community.

With the task force initiative, local authorities aim to create a deterrent against open defecation and foster a cleaner, healthier environment for residents. Alongside the enforcement approach, there is a growing emphasis on community education and awareness campaigns to promote proper sanitation practices and instil a sense of responsibility among the populace. 

“Open defecation in Bolga is another issue. Just last week, we were in Kumasi, and for Open Defecation, just for Bolgatanga alone, it stands at 27.7 percent when the whole of the Upper East Region is at 50.1 percent. It was a shame. We were disgraced. It is a serious matter. I want to organise dawn and late night arrests and I want the assembly members in the central area to be a part of it,” he said. 

Mr. Bornaa explained that the continued practice of Open Defecation cannot only be attributed to the absence of toilet facilities in homes. He said some individuals who have perfectly functional toilets in their homes are just ignorant about the need to use safe toilets, thus their insistence on defecating in the open. 

Open defecation is the practice of relieving oneself in the open, such as fields, bushes, forests, riversides, or other public places, without using a proper toilet or sanitation facility. It is a widespread issue in many parts of the world, particularly in rural areas and low-income communities, where access to proper sanitation infrastructure is limited or absent.

Open defecation can have severe consequences for public health and the environment. It can lead to the contamination of water sources, the spread of diseases, and the overall degradation of the environment. Lack of proper sanitation facilities contributes to poor hygiene practices and can perpetuate a cycle of poverty and ill health in affected communities.

Efforts to eliminate open defecation often involve the construction of toilets and sanitation facilities, as well as public awareness campaigns to promote proper hygiene practices and the importance of using sanitary facilities for human waste disposal. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include targets to achieve universal access to improved sanitation facilities and eliminate open defecation to ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for all.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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