Ghana has, for the past three years, not recorded an outbreak of cholera due to strict health measures implemented by the government, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has said.
According to her, this has been due to measures such as Community Water and Sanitation Agency’s sensitisation of communities on the need to practice personal hygiene, such as handwashing and the need to keep the environment clean to avoid the outbreak of diseases.
“As I speak, they are on the field educating communities on how to be clean and also keep themselves from contracting diseases,” she said.
She was speaking at this year’s Global Handwashing Day themed, ‘Handwashing for all’ which calls for global action towards achieving universal hand hygiene.
The minister said the day sought to raise awareness on the need to make soap and water available globally, especially in public places, schools, work and healthcare facilities.
“This global day gives me yet another opportunity to add my voice to our collective efforts of making the handwashing with soap campaign a household practice that will in the long run impact positively on the lives of the good people of our dear country,” she said.
She said the day would offer a critical approach to undertake intense public sensitisation in homes, markets, clinics, lorry stations, among others, to reinforce the practice of handwashing with soap.
Mrs Dapaah said the public sensitisation was expected to bring to the fore, the practical issues associated with unhygienic practices that in the long run militate against the benefits of handwashing with soap.
She said hands were principal carriers of disease-causing pathogens from person to person, either through direct contact or indirectly through surfaces, adding that handwashing with soap removes germs from hands to prevent transmission of respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases, including cholera and even the deadly COVlD-l9.
Mrs Dapaah said the time had come for Ghanaians to put sanitation and hygiene in their proper perspective.
She commended the government for the free water supply which is costing the country close to GH¢834 million.
The United Nations Children Fund representative, Anne-Claire Dufay, presented Veronica buckets and other hygiene supplies to the Ministry of Education for distribution to schools in Accra.
She also commended Ghana for moving from 11.9 percent handwashing practice in 2011 to 48.5 percent in 2017.
She called on stakeholders to invest in water, sanitation and hygiene, ‘As this is critical for Ghana to fight COVID-19 and make more progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals’.