Three communities in Ajumako District declared open defecation free

The Central Regional Environmental Health Office has declared and certified three rural communities in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District as open defecation free (ODF). Enyan Obontser, Enyan Onyaadze and Ajumako Nyankomase, all large communities with a population of more than 400 people each, passed a strict sanitation assessment by the regional environmental health team and their partners on a visit to the communities. As required, it was observed that nearly every household in each community had a toilet built by themselves with support from the District Assembly, and exceptionally clean surroundings. The status was achieved through a sustained community-led sanitation drive over the past three years with clear indicators and timelines. Supported by World Vision and UNICEF, the trip to the communities also offered an advocacy and learning opportunity to Ms Adwoa Gyakoa Appiah-Kubi, the Child Sanitation Diplomat, who experienced rural sanitation at first hand. Mr William Freeman Goku, Regional Environmen tal Health Officer, who was elated with the development, commended the communities and the Assembly for the milestone. He said the entire region could soon become open defecation free and free of sanitation related illnesses if all big communities were able to achieve the ODF status. It was his case that ensuring excellent hygiene would promote tourism in the smaller communities. 'Almost every part of the region has a tourism potential site and so if we tackle those aspects of the challenges, we are promoting tourism indirectly,' Mr Goku explained. Rev Ransford Emmanuel Kwesi Nyarko, the District Chief Executive (DCE), described sanitation as critical to healthy minds and noted that it was one of his major priorities. He admitted that it was difficult to achieve the ODF status due to the large population and applauded the district's environmental health team for their efforts. He noted that the district had churned out about 30 ODF small communities in the past but it was time to go into the bigger comm unities. Rev Nyarko noted that through the support of agencies like UNICEF, they had established a sanitation fund to provide education and financial support for various communities towards achieving total hygiene. 'There are a lot more communities in Ajumako that we are still working on and we are hopeful that by the end of my tenure, we should have made quite a remarkable improvement as far as sanitation is concerned,' he noted. He appealed to the media to support the campaign for total hygiene in various communities, and particularly against open defecation. The Child Sanitation Diplomat, Ms Appiah-Kubi, expressed satisfaction with the level of sanitation in the rural communities and described their efforts as 'encouraging.' She, however, observed that the communities were using improvised waste bins and appealed to all stakeholders to go to their aid with proper waste bins. She urged communities to take action on their own with their little resources to promote sanitation and not depend on the gover nment. 'There is the need to educate children on proper sanitation and also encourage them to go to school because they are the future,' she added. Nana Kofi Donkor, Tufohen of Enyan Obontser, indicated that they had made progress due to the education offered to them. 'We only had one public toilet but now everyone has a toilet at home,' he said, qnd made an appeal for waste bins to enable them maintain a cleaner environment. Nana Ama Sekyiwaa II, Queen Mother of Ajumako Nyankomase, explaining the sanitation routine of the community, said they undertook clean-up exercises regularly. She said she was leading by example by partaking in all clean-up exercises and urged all other communities to emulate them. She assured of a sustained effort to keep the community hygienic at all times. Source: Ghana News Agency