Document that seeks U/W region wide ODF by 2021 in the offing
By Philip Tengzu
The Upper West Regional Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation, (RICCS) has initiated steps to launch a Regional ODF Plan that seeks to chart a clear path for the attainment of a region wide Open Defecation Free (ODF) status by 2021.
The ODF Plan outlines strategies to be adopted by the RICCS and to ensure that the targets set for the region was achieved.
Some of the strategies included partnership with other agencies, department and organizations; training and capacity building for implementers, especially at the community levels as well as inter-district exchange visit and quiz competition among others.
The Upper West Region has set 2021 as the target to attain a region wide ODF and currently has 590 communities, representing 50.6 per cent, of its 1167 communities being ODF.
Speaking at the committee’s meeting to review the document, pending a final launch, the Upper West Regional Coordinating Director, Mr. Gilbert Nuuri-Teng, was hopeful that the desire of the region to reach ODF status by 2020 was feasible.
“I believe strongly that we can work together to ensure that our region is declared Open Defecation Free by 2020 as we set the target for ourselves, but this involves our constant interaction with our MMDAs because they are the actual implementers of the programme and we are only to monitor and ensure that they do what is expected of them.
So, I entreat our committee members to play their respective role expected of us to ensure that the districts do what is expected of them too so that we can achieve that desired goal”, Mr. Nuuri-Teng stated.
Touching on a separate document which was targeting to make Wa the cleanest city in Ghana, Mr. Nuuri-Teng, who is the Chairman of the Committee, stated that Wa was the gateway to the Upper West Region and should present a favourable picture to tourists and investors visiting the region.
“I am very worried that Wa Municipality which is the regional capital is really having a challenge so far as this particular programme is concerned, so it requires special attention to be paid to Wa Municipality.
And I believe we should come out with a better strategy to see how Wa can achieve that goal because this is the regional capital and whoever comes to the region, this is the first point of call and if the capital is not Open Defecation Free it will have a very bad image for our region”, he said.
Mr. Nuuriten revealed that Nandom District had attained a district wide ODF status and was awaiting a certificate from the Ministry of Sanitation to confirm that status.
The Acting Upper West Regional Director for the Environmental Health and Sanitation Department, Madam Freda Natu, explained that the document was prepared in consultation with sanitation actors at the district level.
She, however, added that it will be returned to the districts for further inputs to ensure that it was in line with their respective targets.
Traditional authorities, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders in the sanitation sector participated in the review meeting which was held in Wa yesterday.